The names of the winners of the 2017 Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and TV5MONDE Press Freedom Prize were unveiled at a ceremony held this evening in Strasbourg as part of the World Forum for Democracy in partnership with the City of Strasbourg.
From a list of 18 nominees, the jury awarded this year’s prize to Polish investigativereporter Tomasz Piatek in the “journalist” category, Turkish web TV Medyascopein the “media” category, and imprisoned Iranian photographer Soheil Arabi in the“citizen-journalist” category.
“Citizen-journalist” category laureate Soheil Arabi is a Tehran-based photographer who was has been imprisoned since December 2013. After his arrest, he was mistreated and subjected to solitary confinement for two months to force him to confess to involvement in creating a Facebook network that “blasphemed” Islam and criticized the government. A long judicial saga ensued in which he was initially sentenced him to three years inprison, 30 lashes and a heavy fine. A few months later, he was retried and sentenced to death, but the death sentence was eventually overturned and in September 2015 he was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison. In July of this year, his wife was arrested and was held for eight days, and she is still being subjected to threatsand harassment. Soheil Arabi began a hunger strike at the end of August.