Abdurrahman Gök, the imprisoned editor of Mezopotamya Agency (MA), won in the Turkish News category at the 30th annual Musa Anter Journalism Awards for his in-depth coverage of the nationwide Jin Jiyan Azadi protests in Iran, which the judges described as “almost flawless journalism under serious threat”.
The jury praised Gök for his courage in travelling to Iran and conducting extensive interviews in a tense environment. His series of articles provided a nuanced understanding of the political and social crisis in Iran that affects people in many countries.
The 30th annual Musa Anter Journalism Awards, dedicated to the memory of the prominent Kurdish journalist who was assassinated in Diyarbakır (Amed) in September 1992, recognised outstanding contributions in five categories: “Turkish News”, “Kurdish News”, “Photography (News Photo)”, “Cartoon” and “Women’s Journalism” at a ceremony in Istanbul.
MA editor-in-chief Diren Yurtsever accepted the award on Gök’s behalf and delivered a message he had sent from prison. In his message, Gök expressed their collective commitment to amplifying the voices of the silenced and mentioned the importance of solidarity in overcoming challenges. He acknowledged that their struggles, while significant, pale in comparison to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the cause of journalism and press freedom. Gök concluded by saluting those who remain steadfast in their principles, even in the face of potential loss of freedom. “Salute to those who never compromise their conscience, even at the risk of losing their freedom,” his message concluded.
Ardıl Batmaz, who won the first prize in the photography category for his photo “Devletin Eli” (“The Hand of the State”), dedicated his prize to Gök.
In the “Kurdish News” category, Ferid Demirel, the Kurdish editor of Bianet, won first prize for his report revealing that the perpetrator of the assassination of Kurdish politician Hevrîn Xelef, Hatim Ebû Şeqra, had recently graduated from a Turkish university. After receiving the award, Demirel sent greetings to imprisoned journalists.
Metin Yoksu from Yeşil Gazete won the Jury Special Prize for his report on the disappearance of at least 60 square kilometres of forest land in Kurdish-majority regions of Turkey due to gendarmerie demands over the past six months. Another special jury prize was awarded to Dilan Pamuk, also from Yeşil Gazete, for her investigative report on the relationship between mining companies and the judiciary.
In the women’s journalism category, Nazila Maroufian won first prize for her interview with Amjad Amini, the father of Jîna Amini, who died in the custody of Iran’s morality police.