The PREMIUM TIMES’ publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, and three others have received the 2020 International Press Freedom Awards by The Committee to Protect Journalists, for their courageous journalism over the years.
According to the organisers of the award, all four honourees have been arrested or faced criminal prosecution from state authorities for their reporting.
Olorunyomi, who is PREMIUM TIMES’ co-founder and CEO, was arrested twice during brutal Abacha junta in 1995 before going on exile at the time. More recently, he was again arrested alongside a colleague in 2017 when police raided the PREMIUM TIMES headquarters on the allegations of defamation.
Thus he was awarded for his decades-long journalism career which has been geared towards press freedom in Nigeria, amidst repeated government harassment and arrests.
In his acceptance Speech, Olorunyomi said,“It reminds me in particular, and I believe many of my colleagues, of the very important work that remains undone in the development of our media and the struggle to expand and give true consequence to our democracy”.
Other awardees include Bangladeshi Shahidul Alam, Iranian Mohammad Mosaed, and Russian Svetlana Prokopyeva.
Alam, a photojournalist and the founder of the Bangladeshi multimedia training organization, the Pathshala Media Institute and the Drik photo library, has a career spanning decades.
Reports say, for 102 days, between August and November, 2018, Alam was kept in custody and tortured by Bangladeshi officials after he posted a video to social media about student protests in the capital Dhaka.
The gala was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions in the early hours of Friday local time, and was chaired by Patrick Gaspard, the president of Open Society Foundations, and hosted by the NBC’s veteran broadcast journalist Lester Holt.