Thursday, December 01, 2005

Akbar Ganji: Recipient of the "Dialogue of Cultures" award

The Foreign Press Association Media Awards 2005

The winners of the Foreign Press Association Media Awards were announced at a ceremony attended by the Rt Hon Jack Straw, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Mr Straw gave the keynote address on “A Dialogue of Cultures”, which was the theme for this year’s event and marked the presentation of a new award dedicated to a journalist who has excelled in promoting discussion between conflicting sides or has made the journey between different ideologies and cultures.

Also present were leading politicians, celebrities and media personalities including Dr Muhammad Abdul Ghaffar Abdulla, Minister of Information and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs; Baroness Boothroyd; Sir Bob Geldof; human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger; broadcaster Sue MacGregor; Antonella Notari, global spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross; Lord Owen and FPA external judges Sir Simon Jenkins, Stewart Purvis and Amir Taheri.

Dialogue of Cultures Winner: Iranian investigative journalist, Akbar Ganji

Through his writings, Akbar Ganji has encouraged Iranians to cross the divide from a culture of fundamentalism to a culture of freedom. For this he risks losing his life. He has said: "My voice will not be silenced, for it is the voice of peaceful life, of tolerating the other, loving humanity, sacrificing for others, seeking truth and freedom, demanding democracy, welcoming different lifestyles, separating the private sphere and the public sphere, religion and state, promoting equality of all humans, rationality, and above all, a profound distaste for violence…” The FPA will honour the life and work of Akbar Ganji by making him the first recipient of the "Dialogue of Cultures" Award.