Peter Greste and Gerard Ryle awarded Press Freedom Medals

The Australian Press Council has awarded Press Freedom Medals to Peter Greste and Gerard Ryle.

The announcement:

The Australian Press Council has awarded Press Freedom Medals to two outstanding individuals for their major contributions to furthering the causes of free speech and freedom of the press.
Peter Greste

One of Australia’s most respected and experienced foreign correspondents, a vocal proponent of press freedom and now Professor of Journalism and Communications at University of Queensland.
Gerard Ryle

Director of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a network of more than 200 journalists and 100 media organisations in 70 countries who collaborate on major investigative stories.
The awards were to be presented at a World Press Freedom Day event hosted at Twitter’s Sydney offices on 3 May 2018.
“We received a substantial number of extremely strong nominations again this year, all of them outstanding individuals and well worthy of congratulations,” said Press Council Chair Neville Stevens. “However, the selection committee agreed unanimously that Peter Greste and Gerard Ryle demonstrated all of the qualities these medals are meant to celebrate.”

“Peter’s work as a courageous foreign correspondent is well known, but his more recent work as a vocal press freedom advocate and communications scholar is less known, though no less laudable. Gerard, after a long and distinguished career as a journalist here and in Ireland, now runs an organisation that is fundamentally changing the way investigative journalism can be done in a time of dwindling revenues and staff in media companies.”

Ryle said: “Never have we seen such calculated campaigns of misinformation from positions of authority. It has never been so easy for powerful people to undermine the work of journalists. It is more important than ever for journalists to stand together to protect each other and to protect the integrity of our profession.”

Greste said: “This award is a great personal honour of course, but more importantly, it recognises the importance of the continued fight to defend media freedom and the safety of journalists at a time when both are under enormous pressure.”

Journalists, communications academics, members of the legal profession and others were invited to attend the ceremony and a panel discussion afterwards organised by Twitter. The panelists: Kate McClymont (Fairfax Media), Michael Cameron (News Corp Australia), Peter Greste, as well as Behrouz Boochani (an Iranian journalist and refugee on Manus Island) via audio link and Gerard Ryle via video link.

Read the award citations here.

The Press Council has awarded the Press Freedom Medal intermittently since 1999, but the honour was reserved initially for people affiliated with the organisation. The Council decided in 2016 to revitalise the award and open it up to people who, through their work as journalists, legal practitioners, community activists or advocates help ensure the preservation of free speech, press freedom and open government.

Past winners of the Press Freedom Medal:

2016 – Kate McClymont of Fairfax Media and Paul Maley of News Corp Australia.

2017 – Peter Timmins of the Australian Open Government Partnership Network and Michael Cameron, National Editorial Counsel for News Corp Australia.

Source: APC


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