Thursday, June 2, 2011

Julian Assange Awarded Martha Gellhorn Prize For Journalism

By Jerry Smith June 2 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has won the 2011 Martha Gellhorn prize for Journalism.

All the judges voted for Assange, claiming that he "represents that which journalists once prided themselves".

The prize is awarded annually to a journalist "whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or 'official drivel', as Martha Gellhorn called it".

Gellhorn was a well-known war correspondent and author who died in 1998.

The Martha Gelhorn prize judges said in their citation:
"WikiLeaks has been portrayed as a phenomenon of the hi-tech age, which it is. But it's much more. Its goal of justice through transparency is in the oldest and finest tradition of journalism."

"WikiLeaks has given the public more scoops than most journalists can imagine: a truth-telling that has empowered people all over the world. As publisher and editor, Julian Assange represents that which journalists once prided themselves in – he’s brave, determined, independent: a true agent of people not of power."
The judges also gave Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema, Moscow correspondent of the Financial Times Charles Clover, and Nazareth based independent journalist Jonathan Cook, the Martha Gellhorn Special Award for Journalism.

The Judges called Cheema's work in exposing official corruption "simply astonishing".

"He has been harassed and tortured, yet he keeps going. This is journalism at its most compelling and courageous," the judges said.

According to the Martha Gellhorn Trust, Cheema could't be at the ceremony in London because the UK High Commission in Islamabad refused to expedite his visa in time.

The judges commended Clover for his "meticulous, insightful and brave" investigation into the far-right gangs in Russia and their links to the government.

The judges called Cook "one of the reliable truth-tellers in the Middle East" for his work on Palestine and Israel.

The judges this year were Dr Alexander Matthews, John Pilger, James Fox, Shirlee Matthews, Cynthia Kee and Jeremy Harding.

Independent columnist Johann Hari won the prize last year and previous winners include Michael Tierney of the Glasgow Herald, Robert Fisk, Patrick Cockburn, and Geoffrey Lean of the Independent, and Ghaith Abdul Ahad, Chris McGreal, and Nick Davies of the Guardian.

Assange, who is still under house arrest at Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, Britain, will continue to fight being extradited to Sweden at a two day hearing at the High Court in London on July 12 and 13.

Assange has been fighting extradition to Sweden where he has not been charged with anything but is wanted for questioning by the Swedish police about accusations of rape and sexual molestation made against him by Sofia Wilen and Anna Ardin. Assange denies the allegations and says he had consensual sex with the two women.

Assange and his lawyers fear that if he is extradited to Sweden he may then be extradited to the United States, where he could face torture, confinement at Guantanamo Bay, both, or even the death penalty.

Assange has angered the United States with the publishing of leaked embarrassing diplomatic cables, the classified documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the 'Collateral Murder' video.


  1. Glad he won.

  2. larry walkerJune 02, 2011

    Assange has won a few prizes/awards recently.

  3. AnonymousJune 02, 2011

    Congrats Assange!!
    You do good work.

  4. Assange Rules!

  5. How can people say that he is not a journalist, he keeps getting awards for it.

  6. AnonymousJune 02, 2011

    I can't wait for the US to get their hands on him. Hurry up and get him to Amerika.

  7. That judge Pilger is his friend, of course he voted for Assange.

  8. AnonymousJune 02, 2011

    I'm surprised someone took on the Ruskies.

  9. Good for you Assange. Congrats.

  10. I can't wait till he's a free man.

  11. Freedom for Assange!!!!!!!!!

  12. AnonymousJune 03, 2011

    Congratulations Assange!

  13. Assange deserves to be free. He did nothing wrong with those two broads or to the US government.

  14. Ya got that right buck.

  15. AnonymousJune 05, 2011

    Way to go Assange.

  16. AnonymousJune 11, 2011

    you said it Gerry.

  17. jim said
    "How can people say that he is not a journalist, he keeps getting awards for it."

    I agree with him.

  18. Good for him