A Russian artist currently under house arrest for her work on gender and sexual equality and one of the first free investigative journalism and fact-checking websites in Poland are among the winners of the 2020 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards.
The winners, who were announced on Twitter as part of a digital gala hosted by BBC presenter Timandra Harkness, also include a prominent lawyer fighting for the release of activists and journalists unlawfully detained in Turkey, a Bahraini activist living in exile in the UK and an Arab non-profit promoting digital rights of Palestinians.
Awards were presented in four categories: arts, campaigning, digital activism and journalism. The winners are: Russian artist Yulia Tsvetkova (arts); Turkish lawyer Veysel Ok and Bahraini activist Sayed Ahmed Alwadaei (campaigning); Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, also known as 7amleh (digital activism); and OKO Press (journalism).
Selected from hundreds of nominations from across the globe – a list of some of the most inspiring and courageous individuals and organisations operating today – the winners of the awards represent those who have had a significant impact fighting censorship.
Previous recipients of the awards include activist Malala Yousafzai, Chinese author Ma Jian and journalists Anna Politkovskaya, Rafael Marques de Morais and Mimi Mefo.
“Today we acknowledge the winners of the Index 2020 awards as amazing people who do amazing things, while overcoming incredible challenges in difficult times. They fight for freedom of expression when others can’t,” said Rachael Jolley and Matt Townsend from Index on Censorship.
The panel of judges included New York-based artist Molly Crabapple, award-winning Guardian journalist Amelia Gentleman and Cindy Gallop, founder of social sex video platform MakeLoveNotPorn.
Ian Murray, executive director at the Society of Editors, said the awards shone a light on the tremendously valuable and all-too-often heroic work carried out by journalists across the globe working in some extremely difficult situations.
“At a time when freedoms are under threat across the globe, including media freedom, it is vital we salute the work of so many journalists, artists and others putting their livelihoods and often their lives on the line. These awards are so important and congratulations to all of the winners,” added Murray.
Full details of the awards can be found at on Index’s website.