Thursday, April 06, 2006

UNESCO Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize 2006 awarded to Lebanese journalist May Chidiac

The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize is awarded annually on World Press Freedom Day (3 May). The 2006 prize, worth US $25,000, is financed this year by the Guillermo Cano Foundation, James and David Ottaway - respectively a former reporter from the Washington Post and a former Chairperson of the World Press Freedom Committee - and UNESCO.

This year it is to be awarded to Lebanese journalist May Chidiac, a popular television presenter, whose news bulletins and Sunday programs - Naharkoum Saïd and Bonjour – on LBC (Lebanese Broadcasting Corp.) are among the most widely followed in Lebanon.

The victim of a car bomb attack on 25 September 2005, Ms Chidiac had one of her hands and her left leg amputated. The tragedy shook Lebanese opinion, which came to see the journalist as a symbol of freedom of expression. The attack against her closely resembled the fatal attack on Samir Kassir, a journalist from the daily An Nahar, five months earlier. Another similar attack in December 2005 targeted the editor of An-Nahar, Gebran Tueni. May Chidiac was proposed as a candidate for prize by the Lebanese minister for culture.

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