Each year, we honour journalists who risk it all to bring us the news, media innovators who speak up for justice and journalists with a strong commitment to excellence in reporting. We are proud to present the nominees for the 2019 Free Press Awards.
Most Resilient Journalist Award
The Most Resilient Journalist Award recognises a reporter or media professional who has demonstrated extraordinary courage and perseverance to bring the news. It is a prize for a journalist who, despite threats, abductions or violence, continues the journalistic work.
Yemeni photographer Amira Al-Sharif has spent the last 17 years documenting the beauty and suffering of her beloved country. Last year, Al-Sharif was arrested multiple times while she was capturing in-depth visual stories from the frontline of Yemen's war. She documented how famine and disease affected cities and the countryside during the conflict. After having her camera repeatedly confiscated, she fled to Tanzania and then Lebanon to ensure that these stories would reach international outlets.
Before securing an art residency at Cité internationale des arts in Paris this fall, she received a fellowship with the World Press Photo Foundation’s 6x6 Global Talent Programme. She published some of the stories she fought to safeguard with media outlets including National Geographic, The Guardian, and The Washington Post.
Ali Arkady is a photojournalist and filmmaker from Khanaqin, Iraq. Ali’s work has focused on wounded and disabled Iraqis during wartime, as well as the daily life of his countrymen. He has done intimate work on the plight of the Yazidis after their expulsion by ISIS. More recently, Arkady documented evidence of war crimes while covering Iraqi forces in the battles for Mosul. After capturing the scenes of torture and murder, Arkady and his family received death threats aimed at preventing him from publishing the stories. Arkady had to flee Iraq with his wife and two children, knowing that the publication of his work would make it unsafe for him to ever return. He has since moved from apartment to apartment around Europe to stay safe.
Momen Faiz is a photojournalist from Gaza, Palestine. He has been capturing images of news events, war and daily life in Gaza since 2005. In 2008, Faiz was shot by Israeli warplanes. Both his legs were amputated as a result of his injuries. Faiz returned to work in a wheelchair and has covered the Israel-Gaza wars in 2012 and 2014, as well as last year’s Great March of Return and border protests. Faiz’s work has appeared in publications including Time, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Le Point and Al Jazeera English. In 2013, he won an award for best human story from the Doha Centre for Media Freedom.
Newcomer of the Year - Hans Verploeg Award
The Newcomer of the Year-Hans Verploeg Award is awarded to a new, talented journalist who has demonstrated a strong performance when it comes to reporting the news.
Elias Huuhtanen (24) is a freelance journalist from southern Finland. He is currently studying Law and European Legal Studies at the University of Aberdeen, UK, where he moved in 2016. Huuhtanen’s investigative journalism has led to the discovery of the first video evidence of Finnish-made armoured vehicles, some fitted with Russian heavy weapons, being used in the civil war in Yemen. He has also written in-depth on loopholes in the EU bio-fuel legislation. Before moving to the UK, Huuhtanen completed his conscription in the army as a paratrooper and worked in Iceland and Greenland as a chef and freelance journalist.
Vino Lucero (25) produces investigative reports and data stories for the Philippine Centre for Investigative Journalism. He investigates public interest topics including freedom of information, president Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs, national elections, children and women's issues, and government transparency and accountability. Lucero is the youngest investigative journalist to be named in the "Oust Duterte" matrix - a network of journalists and civil society workers accused of working to oust the Philippine president. The matrix was first published by a local newspaper owned by one of Duterte's appointees, and was confirmed by Duterte's spokesperson on the same day. It was later disowned by Duterte's cabinet members, including his defence secretary.
Andersson Boscán (27) is an Ecuadorian-Venezuelan investigative journalist. He is a co-founder of La Posta, the biggest digital media outlet in Ecuador with almost 4 million monthly views. La Posta features transnational investigations and brings news to millennials with humour. Boscán is currently studying journalism at Universidad Ecotec, Ecuador. Due to his work, he has been prosecuted or asked to appear as a witness in seven court cases in the past two years. He won an Eugenio Espejo journalism award in 2018 for his investigation into former Ecuadorian vice-president Jorge Glas, who is currently in prison.
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.
Hadas Itzkovitch and Anya van Lit
Love Zone South Africa, Trouw, 6th March 2019
Photography duo Hadas Itzkovitch and Anya van Lit visited South Africa in 2018 in search of post-apartheid interracial, mixed couples. Under apartheid, relationships across racial lines were banned by law. In ‘Love Zone South Africa’, the duo portrays – in images and words – the impact of decades of racial segregation on interracial love relationships in the country today. Ten couples, from different generations and backgrounds, share their stories of love that overcomes struggle. ‘Love Zone South Africa’ is part of the series ‘Love Zone’, portraits and stories of mixed couples in conflict and post-conflict zones in Israel, Palestine, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and South Africa. Itzkovitch and van Lit are based in Amsterdam. They use their practice to examine social contemporary issues and the place of the individual’s identity within modern society.
Olivier van Beemen
Heineken’s promo girls sell beer with their bodies, NRC, 23rd March 2018
Olivier van Beemen is an investigative journalist from Amsterdam. He is the author of the book Heineken in Africa: A Multinational Unleashed (2019), which details the African business practices of the Dutch brewing company. His stories on the same subject were published in The Guardian, Le Monde, NRC, Follow the Money and De Correspondent. The book, translated into several languages, is the result of six years of research, more than 400 interviews, and visits to 13 African countries where the Dutch multinational is operating. For this investigation, van Beemen won the Tegel, the most prestigious award in Dutch journalism, and was nominated for various other prizes. Earlier in his career, he was correspondent in France for some leading Dutch and Belgian news media outlets.
Deforestation and tough arguments about land: The shadow side of palm oil, Trouw, 26th March 2018
Jacqueline Maris is a journalist for a variety of press, broadcast, and multimedia outlets. Her work has been rewarded with several national and international prizes. For many years she was a senior reporter for the foreign desk of VPRO radio and now manages the company she set up in 2014, InterZone Media. For the story ‘Deforestation and tough arguments about land: The shadow side of palm oil’, Jacqueline traveled by moped deep into the oil palm plantations of Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. She met with farmers fighting to retain or regain possession of their land. Simultaneously with the print story in Trouw, VPRO’s Bureau Buitenland broadcast a radio report. Jacqueline’s most recent projects include ‘Follow the Oil & Meet the People’, a series of stories about the Keystone XL Pipeline.