Vienna: The International Press
Institute today named Iranian journalist and dissident Akbar
Ganji as its 59th "World Press Freedom Hero" in honour of his
defence of freedom of speech and equal rights.
Ganji, 50, spent six years in Iran`s infamous Evin
prison for articles that accused high-level political figures
and clerics of involvement in the assassinations of
intellectuals and dissidents, IPI said in a statement.
Despite the brutal conditions, he continued to
write, outlining steps by which Iran could achieve a secular
democracy and emphasising respect for human rights and an
independent press and judiciary.
He was released in 2006 and left Iran but continued
to campaign for freedom and liberty for his country, the
"His courage in the face of intimidation and his
continued fight for truth and justice should serve as an
inspiration to all of us," IPI interim director Alison Bethel
"His struggle is especially relevant now, in light
of the continued persecution of political prisoners in Iran."
The Vienna-based network that works to defend press
freedom will present the award at its September congress where
it will honour 60 "World Press Freedom Heroes" to mark its
It has chosen seven other "heroes" this year,
including May Chidiac from Lebanon and South Africa`s late
anti-apartheid editor Laurence Gandar.
The 60th "hero" is to be named next month.
Others include assassinated Russian journalist Anna
Politkovskaya whom IPI honoured in 2006, two months after she