World Press Freedom Heroes

Symbols of courage in global journalism

IPI has honoured 67 individuals as World Press Freedom Heroes in recognition of their courage and resilience in fighting for press freedom.

IPI named prominent Syrian lawyer and human rights defender Mazen Darwish a World Press Freedom Hero in February 2015. Darwish currently remains imprisoned in Syria on accusations that his efforts to share news about the ongoing conflict in the country promoted terrorism. His wife, Yara Bader, travelled to Myanmar in March 2015 to accept the award on his behalf at IPI's World Congress and General Assembly.

IPI named its first World Press Freedom Heroes on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 2000, when IPI honoured 50 World Press Freedom Heroes at its World Congress in Boston.

IPI posthumously honoured another two Heroes - Anna Politkovskaya of Russia and Hrant Dink of Turkey – in 2006 and 2007, respectively.

In the run-up to the 2010 IPI World Congress, which marked IPI’s 60th year of defending press freedom worldwide, IPI named an additional Hero every month, bringing the list to 60. IPI honoured those Heroes at a special awards ceremony held at Vienna City Hall.

In February 2010, Lasantha Wickrematunge, the late editor of the Sri Lankan daily The Sunday Leader was posthumously named a World Press Freedom Hero by a five-member jury.

Lebanese journalist and television anchor May Chidiac was named the 54th IPI Press Freedom Hero in March 2010.

Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho Ribeiro was the 55th World Press Freedom Hero, awarded in April 2010 for her reports on domestic violence, child prostitution, organized crime and political corruption, in which she drew attention to abuses suffered by women and children and the impunity often enjoyed by those responsible for the abuse.

In May 2010, IPI awarded the 56th award posthumously to South African editor Laurence Gandar.

Nedim Şener was declared a World Press Freedom Hero in June 2010 following the publication of his book on the murder of fellow Turkish journalist Hrant Dink.

In July 2010, Pap Saine of Gambia became the 58th World Press Freedom Hero.

In August 2010, Iranian investigative journalist and political dissident Akbar Ganji was named the 59th World Press Freedom Hero.

In September 2011, U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl and South African editor Raymond Louw were both named World Press Freedom Heroes. Pearl, who was murdered in 2002, was honoured posthumously.

Two-time Pulitzer Prize winning American author and foreign affairs columnist David S. Rohde was named IPI’s 63rd World Press Freedom Hero in January 2012.

In 2013, American reporter Marie Colvin and Japanese photojournalist Mika Yamamoto were posthumously honoured for their bravery and professionalism while covering the ongoing conflict in Syria as well as other previous conflicts.

IPI named Iranian journalist Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, who has been jailed numerous times for his criticism of government policies, its 66th World Press Freedom Hero in January 2014. Shamsolvaezin received the prize at IPI’s World Congress in Cape Town, South Africa on April 14, 2014.

“The Heroes of the IPI demonstrate that in spite of every obstacle and every constraint the truth ultimately prevails and is made known. The spread of democracy is relentless. And that freedom is an eternal goal for men and women everywhere. The editors and publishers you honour today and on whose behalf I have the great honour to speak, have played an essential and inspiring role in helping the people of their countries and the world achieve that freedom.”

- Katharine Graham, IPI World Congress and Celebration of the 50th Anniversary, Boston, 2000.

The 67 heroes are:

Mazen Darwish (2015)

Mashallah Shamsolvaezin (2014)

Marie Colvin (2013)

Mika Yamamoto (2013)

David Rohde, US (2012)

Daniel Pearl, US (2011)

Raymond Louw, South Africa (2011)

Yoani Sanchez, Cuba (2010)

Akbar Ganji, Iran (2010)

Pap Saine, Gambia (2010)

Nedim Sener,Turkey (2010)

Laurence Gandar, South Africa (2010)

Lydia Cacho Ribeiro, Mexico (2010)

May Chidiac, Lebanon (2010)

Lasantha Wickrematunge, Sri Lanka (2010)

Hrant Dink, Turkey (2007)

Anna Politkovskaya, Russia (2006)

Honoured in 2000:

Aslam Ali, Pakistan
Rudolf Augstein, Germany
Omar Belhouchet, Algeria
Kenneth Best, Liberia
Hubert Beuve-Méry, France
Jesus Blancornelas, Mexico
Gremah Boukar Koura, Niger
Jose Burgos Jr., Philippines
Guillermo Cano, Colombia
Juan Pablo Cardenas, Chile
Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, Nicaragua
Suk-Chae Choi, Korea
Julio De Mesquita Neto, Brazil      
Jiri Dienstbier
, Czech Republic            
Harold Evans
, United Kingdom
Antonio Fontán, Spain                   
Gao Yu
, China
Katharine Graham
, USA                 
Veronica Guerin, Ireland                 
Shiro Hara
, Japan
Amira Hass, Israel                           
Tara Singh Hayer
, Canada
Doan Viet Hoat, Vietnam
Abdi Ipekci, Turkey                         
Kemal Kurspahic
, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Daoud Kuttab, Palestinian Territories
Gwen Lister, Namibia
Mochtar Lubis, Indonesia
Kronid Lyubarsky, Russia
Savea Sano Malifa, Samoa
Veran Matic, Serbia
Adam Michnik, Poland
Fred M’membe, Zambia
Indro Montanelli, Italy
Nizar Nayyouf, Syria
Freedom Neruda, Cote d'Ivoire
Pius Njawe, Cameroon
Germán Ornes, Dominican Republic
Percy Qoboza, South Africa
Raúl Rivero, Cuba
Nuno Rocha, Portugal
Faraj Sarkohi, Iran
Arun Shourie, India
Andre Sibomana, Rwanda
U Thaung, Burma
Jacobo Timerman, Argentina
Ricardo Uceda, Peru
Eleni Vlachou, Greece
C.E.L. Wickremesinghe, Sri Lanka
José Rubén Zamora, Guatemala.

60 IPI World Press Freedom Heroes were honoured at the IPI 2010 World Congress in Vienna. More information on the Award Ceremony available here.