Hadi Abdullah Wins 2016 Press Freedom Prize

Syrian freelance journalist Hadi Abdullah won one of the world’s top press awards on Monday, for reporting from some of the most perilous zones in Syria over the past five years.

Hadi Abdullah was awarded with the Reporters without Borders (RSF) TV5 Monde prize – the second to go to a Syrian for two years running. In 2015, the award went to Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim for her reports from the besieged city of Aleppo.

The Syrian Coalition’s media office congratulated Abdullah for winning the prize and wished him continued success in promoting freedom of press and expression. The office highly praised Abdullah who is risking his life documenting the devastation left behind by Assad and Russian airstrikes on Aleppo and in other places across Syria. The media office stressed that Abdullah’s work is as important as the work of those who defend the Syrian people against the Assad regime and seek to free Syria from injustice and tyranny.

Abdullah has documented dozens of crimes and violations committed by the Assad regime, Russia and the Iranian-backed foreign militias.

In a series of tweets posted after the announcement of the prize, Abdullah said that he dedicated the prize to journalists and media activists “Khaled Issa, Turad Zahouri, Bassel Shehada, Wassim Aladil, Shamil Ahmed and to all fallen heroes who died carrying their cameras, fighting and resisting the Assad regime.”

Abdullah, who was born in Homs in 1987, added that he dedicated the prize also “to all detainees enduring pain in Assad’s prisons, to everyone who seeks to light up our gloomy nights, to all those who were slaughtered by the knives of Assad’s criminals, and to my family.” He stressed that the real prize is when “our great revolution emerges victorious.”

Abdullah “has unhesitatingly ventured into danger zones, where Western journalists are no longer willing to go, to film and interview civilians,” RSF said. “Abdullah has had frequent brushes with death,” the press freedom group added.

Abdullah’s cameraman was killed and he himself was seriously injured when a bomb exploded in the place where they were staying.

“We are very happy to award the prize to journalists and media that have demonstrated professionalism and courage in countries where journalists often risk their lives to do their work,” RSF Secretary-general Christophe Deloire said.

The award will be presented in Strasbourg Tuesday on the sidelines of the World Forum for Democracy, a meeting organized by the Council of Europe. Abdullah will address the meeting via a video message.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 08.11.2016)


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