A new annual award that recognises journalists, legal professionals and advocates of press freedom has been established by the Australian Press Council.
The inaugural Press Freedom Medal will be awarded to two journalists on Thursday, May 5, to coincide with the council’s international press freedom conference.
In the past, the council would occasionally award a Press Council Medal to members, however in February it was decided to reinvent the practice with a new focus on outstanding service to journalism and press freedom.
“The inaugural award winners are absolutely outstanding journalists who overcame threats and major obstacles to ensure that critical stories saw the light of day,” said Australian Press Council chairman chair Professor David Weisbrot.
“In future years, the Press Freedom Medal could just as easily be awarded to a judge who makes a crucial ruling that bolsters press freedom, or a community group, or individual activists who in their own way have contributed substantially to press freedom,” he said.
The 2016 winners were selected by a special committee made of Press Council members who took into account the professional achievements of journalists and others over several years.
Articles that cast a light on incidents or situations of great significance to the Australian community were also taken into consideration.
In the future, the Press Freedom Medal may be awarded to more or less than two people, depending on circumstances.
The council’s press freedom conference will be held in Sydney on May 4 and 5 and feature a line-up of local and international speakers.
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