Golden Pen winner: Don’t leave oppressed media alone (video)

Sep 29, 2022 at 10:06 am by admin

Gazeta Wyborcza and its foundation – a lone platform for independent journalism in Poland and a practical and staunch supporter of Ukrainian media – has been awarded the 2022 Golden Pen of Freedom.

WAN-Ifra’s annual award was presented by King Felipe of Spain on the first day of the World News Media Congress in Zaragoza, Spain.

It recognises a news organisation that “stands as a beacon of independence and as a bulwark against authoritarianism; a paper of record that demonstrates its values daily, across its pages, through support to young journalists, in the promotion of local news, and through work across borders in solidarity with colleagues in need,” said World Editors Forum president Warren Fernandez, who is editor-in-chief of Singapore’s Straits Times.

Facing down numerous challenges to deliver independent journalism and reliable coverage, Gazeta Wyborcza established the Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation in 2019 to safeguard the publication’s future and strengthen quality journalism in Poland. Its projects have denounced neo-fascist organisations, fought disinformation, polarisation, and xenophobia, and supported local and regional media to produce investigative journalism.

Over the past year, the foundation has been coordinating critical financial and technical support to Ukrainian colleagues from across Europe following the Russian invasion.

“The deteriorating condition of Polish democracy means that civic engagement is needed now more than ever,” said Joanna Krawczyk, board president of Gazeta Wyborcza and head of partnerships. “The events of recent months and years have shown with full force the scale of the challenges facing our democracies.

“I thank you for your support, generosity and unity and call on you to be with us, with any media in need in the years to come. We often say nowadays: be brave like Ukrainian journalists, so let’s be brave in our decision not to leave Ukrainian media alone.

“Let’s not leave any independent media facing oppression alone.”

Accepting the award on behalf of the Gazeta Wyborcza newsroom, Piotr Stasiński, former deputy editor-in-chief and currently special media advisor to Gazeta Wyborcza Foundation, said: “Under PiS rule, media freedom in Poland has been seriously infringed. Already, we see a growing ‘chilling effect’ and a decreasing number of media outlets that are free and independent. Developments in Poland are in line with how Hungarian independent media were suppressed by Viktor Orban's government. Hungary, like Poland, is an EU member.”

First published on May 8, 1989, under the motto ‘There is no freedom without Solidarity’, Gazeta Wyborcza initially faced heavy censorship but became a critical player in convincing the public to reject the country’s communist leadership. It also became the first legal publication that was outside of government control.

By the early 2000s, Wyborcza had become one of Poland’s best-selling newspapers and has since consolidated its position as a journal of record that keeps a constant vigilance over Polish democracy. Today, as one of the country’s few remaining independent news titles, Gazeta Wyborcza – no stranger to resistance – finds itself under constant attack from a government hostile to independent news.

A systematic effort by the ruling Law and Justice party to capture public service media has led them and their allies to turn their attentions to private media. An onslaught of legal and financial pressures has been brought to bear, targeting Gazeta Wyborcza in particular. The publication is facing some 100 legal challenges, Stasiński said.

“The mission we are committed to is especially important now, in our troubled country, and in the increasingly troubled world.”

• Regina ‘Ging’ Reyes (above left) senior vice president and head of integrated news and current affairs at ABS-CBN Corporation in the Philippines, has been named 2022 WIN editorial leadership laureate for Southeast Asia.

She is one of three laureates named today in the annual Women in Newspapers Editorial Leadership Award. The others are Faith Zaba, editor of the Zimbabwe Independent (Africa) and Diana Moukalled, co-founder of Daraj Media in Lebanon (Arab Region).

The annual WIN awards recognise the exemplary contribution of an editor to her newsroom, and under her leadership, her media organisation’s contribution to society. 2022 Laureates were honoured at WAN-Ifra’s World News Media Congress in Zaragoza, Spain.

Zaba (centre)  is the first woman editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, the country’s leading business and investigative weekly, owned by Alpha Media Holdings, and

Moukalled (above right) the co-founder of, an independent media platform addressing controversial issues in the Arab Region. She is a Lebanese journalist and documentary producer.

Reyes – a news executive with more than 30 years’ experience – is a premier news personality in the Filipino-American community, having established and expanded ABS-CBN’s news operations in the US and Canada.

The laureates are selected by members of the Women in News Global Steering Committee based on criteria such as commitment to editorial excellence, gender equality and supporting the next generation of media leaders.

Sections: Newsmedia industry


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