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    Award for Andrzej Poczobut

    Andrzej Poczobut was awarded the Main Award for Freedom of Speech by the Polish Journalists Association. The journalist and activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus received the award for professionalism and courage to work in conditions of extreme danger.

    The Polish Journalists Association (SDP) announced on Thursday the results of the 28th edition of the SDP Awards competition for the best works published in 2020 in the Polish press, radio, television and the Internet. The award ceremony, during which Krzysztof Skowroński, president of the Polish Association of Journalists, reminded of the journalists in Belarus persecuted by Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, took place in the Journalist House – the seat of the Polish Association of Journalists in Warsaw. 

     

    “We think of all those who, fighting for freedom – freedom of Belarus and freedom of speech – and working for the Belarusian media, ended up in prison” – emphasised Skowroński at the gala, during which portraits of Belarusian journalists with the number of days they spent in custody were presented.

     

    “For us, speaking out loud about what we think, lavishing the word is normal and doesn’t generally involve risk. It’s very different across our eastern border” – added journalist and TV presenter Anna Popek, co-host of the gala.

     

    This year’s winner of the Freedom of Speech Award for his publications defending democracy and the rule of law, exposing the abuse of power, corruption, violations of civil and human rights, was Andrzej Poczobut – not only a journalist but also an activist of the Union of Poles in Belarus. He is currently being held in custody in Zhodzina near Minsk for allegedly “inciting hatred on the grounds of nationality” and “rehabilitation of Nazism”, for which he faces up to a dozen years in the gulag. A few days ago, the Belarusian Association of Journalists reported that Andrzej Poczobut fell ill with Covid-19.

     

    The SDP also stated that 260 journalistic works were submitted to the competition, as well as numerous photographs and press reports on sports and social photography. Traditionally, the largest number of publications were submitted for the Stefan Żeromski Prize for social issues, the Maciej Łukasiewicz Prize for culture and popularization of knowledge and the Janusz Kurtyka Prize for historical publications. Most of the submissions were works published on the Internet – 90, 63 were submitted for television, 51 for the press and 49 for radio.

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