Thursday, October 24, 2019
This year marks the fourth time we present the Most Resilient Journalist Award to a journalist who has shown extraordinary courage and persistence in reporting the news. At a time when it’s becoming increasingly dangerous to be a journalist, we believe it’s important to honour those who risk it all to bring us the facts. As we approach the 2019 Free Press Awards, we asked former winners what the award meant to them - and what they've been up to since.

Hamid Mir, Most Resilient Journalist 2016, Pakistan

“Winning the Most Resilient Journalist Award was definitely a great personal recognition for the sufferings I faced due to my journalism. But I considered this award as a collective achievement of all those Pakistani journalists who have been fighting against extremism, torture, threats and censorship for many years.

“I distributed the prize money among the families of seven brave Pakistani journalists who were killed in the line of duty. Some of the families paid the school fees of their children, others paid rent.

“These days I am writing a book about journalists from all over the world who sacrificed their lives for freedom of expression and the right to know. I’m writing this book because threats to the media are increasing day by day and we need to make a united front against impunity.”

Mwape Kumwenda, Most Resilient Journalist 2017, Zambia

Mwape Kumwenda“The Most Resilient Journalist Award meant a lot to me and my professional career. It gave me renewed hope that my work was appreciated on the international scene, even if it had received less attention back home. The award motivated me to keep up the good work of informing, educating and entertaining my community.

“I invested part of the prize money in empowering small scale businesses in Zambia with soft loans. By registering a small money lending company I have managed to empower more than 200 Zambians already.”

Rana Ayyub, Most Resilient Journalist 2018, India

“I received the Most Resilient Journalist Award within months of my image being morphed onto a pornographic video and being shared all over the country. Meanwhile the UN special rapporteur had asked the Indian government to protect my safety. Everybody said, every time something happens to her, Rana becomes stronger. But sometimes the intimidation, the death threats and the rape threats break your will. So the award meant a great deal to me. It meant that the world is watching and that I’m not alone.

“Right now I’m working on exciting things. I’m working on a big, big investigation which should come out next year. I have just joined Washington Post as a global opinions writer and I’ve been writing stories from Kashmir and all over India. So it’s a great time for me.”

We will present the Most Resilient Journalist Award for the fourth time on 31 October at Free Press Live. Meet our extraordinary nominees here. Want to join us at the event? There are still a few seats available, so book now.