For sharing his thoughts on politics, religion and freedom in his blog "Free Saudi Liberals", Saudi Arabian Blogger Raif Badawi was sentenced to ten years of prison, a fine of about 200.000 Euros and one thousand lashes. In order to honor outstanding commitment for freedom of expression, international media alliance (IMA) together with Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar initiated the Raif Badawi Award for courageous journalists. The award ceremony took place during the gala "Bundesmedienball" on November 13th in Berlin, a yearly event for media professionals.

The Raif Badawi Award for courageous journalists is hosted by international media alliance, co-organized by Friedrich Naumann Stiftung für die Freiheit and financially supported by Bundesmedienball, Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels and Ullstein Buchverlage

An independent jury has nominated five brave journalists and organizations from the Arab world that campaign for freedom of expression.

The winner is:   


Ali Anouzla:
The Moroccan makes investigative journalism irrespective of political red lines.

Ali Anouzla is one of the bravest and most critical thinking journalists in Morocco. He is well-known beyond Morocco's borders as a columnist for pan-Arabic electronic media. In Morocco the journalist founded several independent newspapers as well as the famous online news portal, that has been blocked by the Moroccan authorities since 2013. In mid-August 2015 Anouzla initiated Lakome 2 together with a small and young team in order to continue his journalistic work. The portal focuses on video journalism to reach out to the youth of the country. Anouzla is a frequent target of prosecution by the Moroccan authorities and has been charged with high fines and (suspended) prison sentences repeatedly, e. g. in 2008, when he was convicted for publishing delicate documents from the archive of the Moroccan Truth Commission.

Anouzla is one of the very few Moroccan journalists, who do not practice self-censorship and who are truly independent. His work is characterized by solid and investigative research while continuously crossing political red lines. For instance, when he dares to criticize the “executive monarchy” and its politics or the way Morocco's leadership is handling the issues relating to the Western Sahara conflict in the south of the country. With his meticulous work time and again he is revealing human rights violations.

Observers believe that Anouzla's fearless reporting lead to his political motivated indictment in September 2013 on the grounds of alleged apologia and material support of terrorism. His arrest was met with outrage worldwide. Reporters without Borders, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch took up his case. Anouzla was released after five weeks. His charges are pending and he is facing up to 20 years of prison. Anouzla describes his position as follows: “I am not a member of the opposition, I am merely free and independent”

Besides Ali Anouzla, other candidates for the Raif Badawi Award were: