The European Union's ambassador to Lebanon, Angelina Eichhorst, presented the "Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press 2012", to Jordanian national, Suleiman Khalidi, for his essay "Humanity violated by Syrian security", published in English on the Reuters website on May 26, 2011, and the Egyptian Journalist, Bakinam Amer, for her press investigation titled "The curious case of Reda Hilal", published in English in al-Masry al-Youm newspaper on July 1, 2011. Khalidi and Amer were handed 10,000 Euros each.
A ceremony was held at the Movenpick Hotel in the presence of Information Minister Walid Daouk and the ambassadors of Italy, Spain, Denmark, Austria, Romania, Turkey, Bulgaria and Morocco.
Media figures and reporters also attended the ceremony, broadcast Saturday night by TV channels "France 24" and "Future".
Eichhorst said in her speech that the Samir Kassir Award is given annually by the Union in June, to commemorate the murder of journalist Samir Kassir and to highlight the Union's commitment to support all those who are still fighting for freedom of expression.
"Last year was bad for freedom of expression around the world. It seems that this year will be no better at this level. Since early 2011, more than 90 journalists were killed while practicing their profession. Others were subjected to intimidation, abduction and arbitrary detention and torture, "she said.
"With the uprisings in the Arab countries, many journalists and people working in the media have paid a heavy price during event coverage...but thanks to the professional commitment and courage of journalists, bloggers and those who use social media, we can be aware of what is happening on the ground."
"We condemn the threats and attacks against journalists and we urge the authorities to enable them to fulfill their role of providing independent information, without fear of violence or repression. We denounce unjustified restrictions that hinder access to the internet. These questions and concerns are taken into account in all our dealings with governments and partners around the world. We are raising the tone in the face of violations of human rights."