Turkish reporter not to get Alpi Award if she can't come

Jury cites 'visibility' reasons

09 July, 18:41

    (ANSAmed) - ROME, JULY 9 - The Turkish journalist Zeynep Kuray, who has suffered persecution in her own country, will receive the prestigious international Ilaria Alpi Award only if she can attend the awards ceremony in Italy. If her government refuses to let her leave the country, then the jury has said it will be forced to give the award to someone else for reasons of ''visibility''. The news was reported on Facebook by Marco Cesario, the author of a book on the repression of journalists in Turkey, ''Sansur''. On July 4, Cesario received an email from Premio Ilaria Alpi saying that the Unicredit group that gives an award to a female journalist every year had chosen Zeynep Kuray, whose story they had learned of through his book. ''For this reason I am asking you for her contact details, in order to invite her to the awards ceremony in Riccione in September''. Kuray, 35, writes for the Istanbul-based socialist daily Virgun. She was arrested in December 2011 for her reports of violent repression of Kurds by the Turkish army. She was released in March 2013 but is not allowed to leave the country. When Cesario called to tell her about the award, she asked him if he could pick it up for her. The Unicredit jury (separate from the one that assigns the main award) said no. And so this year it will go to someone else. The Alpi Award secretary wrote to Cesario that it ''believes it is important that the journalist be present, especially for reasons of visibility for herself. The risk of awarding someone not there, as has been done before, is that both the journalist's experience and the reasons for the award itself lose the importance and attention they deserve.'' ''To the contrary, actually,'' Cesario wrote in indignation.

    ''The fact that she cannot pick up the award in person (since she is still under semi-arrest) shows the strength of her battle for freedom of speech.'' (ANSAmed).

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