Nominees: Prize for Courage
The Prize for Courage is awarded to journalists, media outlets or NGOs who demonstrate bravery in the practice, defence or promotion of journalism in a hostile environment, despite threats to their freedom or safety. The 2019 edition is kindly sponsored by Posteo e.K.
Igor Rudnikov (Russia)
Igor Rudnikov is the founder and former editor of Novye Kolesa, the leading independent newspaper in Russia’s western enclave of Kaliningrad. He is well known for his hard-hitting investigative reporting on corruption and public fund embezzlement. Because of his persistent coverage, he has been the target of two murder attempts, many prosecutions and several police raids. He was finally imprisoned after investigating the undeclared real estate assets of Victor Ledenev, a former prosecutor-general in Chechnya who had been transferred to Kaliningrad. Despite the challenges of being held in solitary confinement, he has managed to publish several articles and has just written a book with the epigraph, “Thought cannot be handcuffed or thrown in prison. It will always be free.”
Eman al Nafjan (Saudi Arabia)
The founder of the SaudiWoman.me website and author of many articles in international media outlets, including the Guardian and the New York Times, Eman al Nafjan spearheaded the Saudi women’s campaign for the right to drive and the fight against the oppressive male guardianship system in Saudi Arabia. Arrested along with other women’s rights activists in May 2018, she was freed conditionally on 28 March 2019. According to the Saudi media, she is accused of endangering “national security,” maintaining “suspicious contacts with foreign entities” and of being a “traitor,” a charge which could carry a 20-year sentence.
Paolo Borrometi (Italy)
Born in Sicily, the Italian writer and journalist, Paolo Borrometi, is an expert on the Sicilian mafia. Because of his courageous reporting for the Giornale di Sicilia newspaper and La Spia, the news website he created in 2013, he has been the target of frequent threats and is protected around the clock by five police officers. In April 2018, the Italian police thwarted a plot to kill him and his five police bodyguards with a bomb. In January 2019, he received a message saying, “You have little time left.” In Rome, where he now lives for safety reasons, he continues his tireless fight against organized crime even though he remains subject to systematic intimidation.
Lola Aronovich (Brazil)
University academic, Lola Aronovich, has received hundreds of online death threats since launching a blog called Escreva Lola Escreva (Write Lola Write) in 2008. Since then, she has been become one of Brazil’s best known and most widely read feminist bloggers. Although one of her main attackers was arrested in 2018, the threats against her and her family have continued. Under a law that took effect in April 2018 – called the “Lola Law”, in homage to her fight against online violence – the federal police can now take over any online criminal investigation of a misogynistic nature.