Eynulla Fatullayev, an Azerbaijani journalist and human rights activist, has been named the winner of the 2012 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize by UNESCO’s Director-General, Irina Bokova. He was nominated for the award by an independent international jury.
Eynulla Fatullayev, 35, is the former editor-in-chief and founder of the popular independent Russian-language weekly Realny Azerbaijan (Real Azerbaijan) and the Azeri-language daily Gundalik Azarbaycan (Azerbaijan Daily) newspapers. Throughout his career, he has unfailingly and steadfastly spoken out for freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Imprisoned in 2007, he was released last year by presidential pardon on Azerbaijan’s Republic Day, 26 May - an event that was welcomed by the international community. In July 2011 Mr Fatullayev founded the “Public Union for Human Rights", a non-governmental human rights organization.
The UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was created in 1997 by UNESCO’s Executive Board. It is awarded annually during the celebration of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, and honours the work of an individual or an organization defending or promoting freedom of expression anywhere in the world, especially if this action puts the individual’s life at risk. Candidates are proposed by UNESCO Member States, and regional or international organizations that defend and promote freedom of expression.