Civil Rights Defenders receives Ukrainian National Award for Protection of Free Speech

Hanna Gerdes and Anders L. Pettersson, together with Lina Kushch from the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

Civil Rights Defenders has received this year’s National Award for the Protection of Freedom of Speech, a yearly award issued by the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine (NUJU). NUJU is the largest journalist organisation in Ukraine, consisting of more than 18,000 members before the war. 

“NUJU awards Civil Rights Defenders for the dedicated support provided to Ukrainian journalists and human rights defenders. Especially in the circumstances of the war, we want to emphasise the significant contribution of Civil Rights Defenders as a partner of an initiative to document war crimes against media workers,” said Sergiy Tomilenko, president at NUJU. 

The National Award for the Protection of Freedom of Speech is awarded by NUJU every year in honour of Igor Lubchenko. He was a long-serving president of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine and has made huge contributions to the protection of freedom of speech and the development of the press in Ukraine. 

“Civil Rights Defenders has done a great deal for the journalistic community in Ukraine,” said Mykola Semena, secretary NUJU, who suggested awarding Civil Rights Defenders. 

“We are very honoured to receive the Ukrainian National Award for the Protection of Free Speech. Ukraine’s brave journalists stand on the front lines in the defence of the free word—not just for their own country but for anyone who believes in an open world. Since the beginning of the war, Civil Rights Defenders has provided support in every way we can so that these brave defenders of democracy can continue their important work. We are glad to receive this award as it confirms that our efforts have an effect and are needed”, said Hanna Gerdes, Chair of the Board at Civil Rights Defenders.     

The National Union of Ukraine emphasises that Civil Rights Defenders is making great efforts to protect Ukrainian journalists, as well as to document journalists’ testimonies about war crimes. 

“This is not just a recognition of our work, but of the important efforts of Ukraine’s brave journalists. I had the privilege of meeting some of these journalists in Kyiv in December. They are doing an incredible job. The international community must stand with those who stand up for the free word even during the current extreme circumstances in Ukraine,” said Anders L. Pettersson Executive Director Civil Rights Defenders. 

With the support of Civil Rights Defenders, the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine documents journalists’ testimonies of war crimes, submits international reports, and draws international attention to crimes against media workers during the war. 
Read more about the award in NUJUs article. 

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