With the Free Press Awards, we want to honour journalists who risk everything to bring us the news. Media pioneers who pave the way for equality and justice and those who persevere under the most difficult circumstances. Journalists who have a strong commitment with press freedom and independent information.

Most Resilient Journalist Award

The Most Resilient Journalist Award goes to a reporter or media professional who has demonstrated extraordinary courage and perseverance to bring the news. It is a prize for a journalists who, despite threats, abductions and violence continue the journalistic work.


Abdulmonam Eassa

abdulmonam with cameraSyrian photojournlaist Abdulmonam Eassa taught himself how to use a camera when his hometown in Eastern Ghouta came under siege by the Syrian army. As everything around him collapsed and many people fled, he stayed because he strongly believed the world needed to know what was happening inside Ghouta.

As a freelance photographer, Eassa exposed numerous war crimes and human rights violations and hoped he could play a role in ending the violence. Eassa was forced to quit school, often deprived from food, clean water and electricity and faced serious threats from both regime and rebel forces.


Rana Ayyub

rana ayyubIndian journalist Rana Ayyub investigated the extrajudicial killings of Muslim youth and this sent the first serving home minister of India behind bars. Ayyub went undercover for eight months, continuing her research into the involvement of top ministers in deadly riots. When publishers rejected her work, she self-published her book. The book sold 300,000 copies in 17 languages but also brought about intense harassment, both online and offline, mostly of sexual nature. She received death threats and her phone number and address were made public.

Ayyub refuses to leave India and continues working as a journalist, giving the less privileged and minorities in India a voice and being a role model for women.


Mohamed Ibrahim Nur 

moalimuu_portraitFor more than 15 years Mohamed Ibrahim Nur has been dedicating his life to journalism. He has been reporting on the ongoing civil war in Somalia for both local and international media such as the BBC and Reuters.

Nur has been confronted with persistent intimidation and threats from all sides and survived three attacks on his life. Despite all this, Nur keeps on advocating for press freedom and human rights. 


Newcomer of the Year - Hans Verploeg Award

The Newcomer of the Year- Hans Verploeg Award will recognize a new talented journalist who has demonstrated a strong performance when it comes to reporting the news.


Kemi Busari

kemi_busariKemi Busari (29) is a reporter at Nigerian online newspaper Premium Times. His two-part undercover investigation into the Nigerian Immigration Service’s (NIS) passport offices exposed extortion of applicants who he found to be charged inflated fees. After Busari’s findings were published, NIS issued a ban on cash payments for passport processing.

Busari also investigated the culture of lateness in the Nigerian senate and fund mismanagement and lax security at the country’s Nuclear Technology Centre. Busari started his career in journalism as a campus reporter for The Nation newspaper in his second year at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife.


Chinwe Agbeze

chinwe_agbezeChinwe Agbeze (33) works as an investigative reporter at Nigerian newspaper BusinessDay. She went undercover to examine allegations that primary school pupils covered by a public school meal programme were poorly fed. Agbeze’s work also includes an undercover investigation into unethical practices at a major abattoir in Lagos and a portrait of life in the city’s floating community of Makoko.

Her editor credits her with boldness in taking on risky assignments and an ability to tell moving stories. 


Amos Fofung Nkunchoh

Amos Fofung Nkunchoh (24) is a Cameroonian journalist working as a bureau chief for English-language daily The Guardian Post. Based in Buea, he has reported extensively on the country’s Anglophone crisis which has seen an escalation of violence in the past year.

In February 2017, Fofung was arrested and spent nearly six months in detention without charge. Fofung is also the assistant secretary general of the Buea chapter for the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists (CAMASEJ). 


Best Report Award

The Best Report Award is the award for the best foreign report that was made with support from the Dutch Postcode Lottery Fund for journalists. 


Ralf Bodelier & Mirjam Vossen

Het is fout maar dit is hoe wij overleven, De Groene Amsterdammer, 7 February 2018

ralf_en_mirjamJournalist Ralf Bodelier and media researcher Mirjam Vossen worked together on the report ‘Het is fout, maar dit is hoe wij overleven’ (‘It's wrong. But it's how we survive’). Ralf Bodelier has a PhD in philosophy and expertise in globalisation and cosmopolitanism. He is a freelance journalist whose work has been published by De Groene Amsterdammer, de Volkskrant and various regional newspapers. Mirjam Vossen received a PhD on the framing of global poverty in the media. As a freelancer she works both as a journalist and a researcher.

Bodelier and Vossen travelled to Malawi together for their article. Most stories about Malawi feed into a negative image of a corrupt African continent. To counterbalance this one-sided image, their article tells the story of local initiatives and citizens who successfully fight all kinds of corruption.


Mirjam van Biemen & Mijke van Wijk

Waakhond van het woud, Radio doc, 17 December 2017

mirjam_mijkeMirjam van Biemen and Mijke van Wijk worked together on the radio documentary ‘Waakhond van het woud’ (‘Watchdog of the woods’). Mirjam van Biemen is a freelance journalist with experience in both radio and television. She is currently working on her second book. Mijke van Wijk has 18 years of experience as a (radio) journalist in national media. She works as a researcher, reporter and presenter.

The radio documentary ‘Waakhond van het woud’ is set in Brazil. Despite international agreements, the Brazilian Amazon faces continuous illegal deforestation for wood cultivation and agricultural land. The Netherlands is one of the largest importers of cheap Brazilian soy. Van Biemen and Van Wijk accompanied scientist and criminologist Tim Boekhout van Solinge on his journey through the Amazon where he tries to connect native tribes, local initiatives and law enforcement.


Coen van de Ven & Kasper Goethals

Een eigen weg voor het Oosten, De Groene Amsterdammer, 6 June 2018

kasper_en_coen_samenCoen van de Ven and Kasper Goethals worked together on the article ‘Een eigen weg voor het Oosten’ ('Through Europe’s fly-over states: Going south in the East.') Coen van de Ven obtained a degree in Journalism and International Political Theory. He worked for Al Jazeera English, Vrij Nederland and De Morgen. Kasper Goethals is a foreign correspondent for De Standaard, working on special reporting projects around the world. His work was also published by Al Jazeera English, De Groene Amsterdammer and other publications.

Together with photographer Johannes De Bruycker, Van de Ven and Goethals travelled from Poland to Romania, through Slowakia and Hungary. Their journey followed the route of a planned highway, the Via Carpathia, which will be the first prominent motorway heading from North to South in Eastern Europe. For this story, Van de Ven and Goethals combined in-depth interviews with reportage in order to find out what the political meaning is of this project. 'Een eigen weg voor het Oosten' appeared in De Standaard and De Groene Amsterdammer.