Jailed Egyptian photographer Mahmoud Abu Zeid, popularly known as Shawkan, on April 23, 2018 won the 2018 Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO).
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry strongly warned UNESCO against recognising Abu Zeid, claiming that he faced terror-related charges. While, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions has called Abu Zeid’s arrest as arbitrary.
Why was Abu Zeid arrested?
Abu Zeid was arrested in August 2013 for covering deadly demonstration between the security forces and supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohammed Morsi at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in Cairo, Egypt.
He is one among the 700 defendants facing charges of killing police and vandalising property during the clashes.
UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
• The UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize was established in 1997 by UNESCO in honour of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist.
• Guillermo Cano Isaza was assassinated on December 17, 1986 in front of the office of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogota. It is believed that the drug traffickers had ordered Cano’s assassination as his work documented the effects of the Colombian drug trade.
• The award honours people, organisations or institutions for their outstanding contribution to defence and promotion of freedom of press anywhere in the world, especially done in the face of danger.
• The award carries cash prize of USD 45000 and is funded jointly by Colombia based Cano Foundation and Finland based Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.