Turkish journalist Nedim Şener awarded German media prize

Turkish journalist Nedim Şener awarded German media prize

Turkish journalist Nedim Şener awarded German media prize The Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation has awarded Turkish journalist Nedim Şener and Iranian director Jafar Panahi with the Prize for the Freedom and Future of the Media 2015.

“This year once again, the diversity of recommended journalists who are deserving of the award shows that the fight for freedom of speech and for freedom of the press and the media must be fought in many parts of the world and is currently being fought by a whole range of different protagonists,” said the institution’s managing director, Stephan Seeger, in a written statement.

“In selecting Jafar Panahi and Nedim Şener, we honor two media professionals who are exceptional on an international scale and who have fought for decades for freedom of speech in their home countries while continuing their exemplary work, despite politically motivated persecution, imprisonment and a range of other forms of repression,” he said.

This year the jury selected from among 48 nominees. The award was worth 30,000 euros and will be bestowed in two halves, one to Jafar Panahi, and one to Nedim Şener. The award ceremony will take place on Oct. 8 in Leipzig.

In the statement, Panahi was praised as “a proponent of liberalization” in Iran, while Şener’s work, including his 2009 investigation into the killing of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, was highlighted.

‘Attempts at intimidation’

Şener, born in Germany in 1966, “became a target of the state, intelligence agencies and legal authorities in Turkey, and found himself having to contest charges in court for insulting state institutions, among other things,” Seeger said. “Şener remains unimpressed by this attempt to intimidate him, and for the sake of his search for the truth and the fight for the freedom of reporting, he accepts the risk of great personal sacrifice.”

Şener has been with daily Posta since 2011. He has published several books dealing with topics that include corruption, fraud, organized crime, tax evasion, the funding of terrorist organizations and intelligence agencies. In 2011, Şener and ten other people were arrested and accused of working in the media branch of Ergenekon, an underground organization which was said to have planned a coup against the government of then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He remained in prison until March 2012, for a total of 375 days.
Each year since 2001, the Sparkasse Leipzig Media Foundation has awarded the Prize for the Freedom and the Future of the Media in order to honor journalists, publishers and institutions which have dedicated themselves with great personal commitment to ensuring the freedom and future of media. The award is also intended to commemorate the Peaceful Revolution in Leipzig on Oct. 9, 1989, in which protesters demanded “free press for a free country.”