Our Freedom of Speech Award laureates
Since 2015, the DW Freedom of Speech Award has honored persons or initiatives for their outstanding promotion of human rights and freedom of expression. Learn more about the award and laureates.
Meet our laureates 2015-2022
Deutsche Welle has been promoting democratic values, human rights and the dialogue between different cultures for more than six decades. Since 2015, our Freedom of Speech Award has honored persons or initiatives for their outstanding promotion of human rights and freedom of expression.
2015: Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia
Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has fought for freedom of expression in his country for years. His blog addressed political and societal grievances in Saudi Arabia. In 2012, he was arrested and accused of insulting Islam, religious leaders and politicians. Authorities sentenced him to 1,000 lashes (he has since received 50), 10 years in prison and a major fine in 2014. He was released in March 2022.
2016: Sedat Ergin, Turkey
Sedat Ergin, former editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily "Hürriyet," received Deutsche Welle's second annual Freedom of Speech Award while being tried for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Freedom of speech is one of the most fundamental values of humankind," the journalist said. "It is an essential aspect of our existence in human societies."
2017: White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA), US
In 2017, DW Director General Peter Limbourg presented the DW Freedom of Speech Award to Jeff Mason, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA). "We see this award as recognizing free press worldwide and in the US and as a sign of solidarity and encouragement for those colleagues who have the exciting task of reporting about the US President and his policies, said Limbourg.
2018: Sadegh Zibakalam, Iran
The DW Freedom of Speech Award 2018 laureate was Iranian political scientist Sadegh Zibakalam. He was facing a jail sentence for speaking out against the political situation in his home country in an interview with DW. Zibakalam is famous for his intense debates with hardliners, repeatedly criticizing the government's official stance on domestic and foreign policy matters.
2019: Anabel Hernández, Mexico
Mexican investigative journalist Anabel Hernández is the recipient of the DW Freedom of Speech Award 2019. Her work focuses on corruption and the collusion between government officials and drug cartels. She gained international attention in 2010 with her book "Los Señores del Narco" (Narcoland) which documented these illegal relations. She lives in exile in Europe.
2020: Fact-Checkers fighting the Infodemic #COVID19
In 2020, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, DW has decided to honor 17 journalists from 14 countries. They represent all journalists worldwide who have disappeared or been arrested or threatened because of their reporting on the COVID-19 pandemic.
2021: Tobore Ovuorie, Nigeria
Tobore Ovuorie is the recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award 2021. Ovuorie has worked as an investigative journalist for leading publications in Nigeria for about ten years. In 2014, her most renowned investigative report to date was published. The widespread human trafficking ring uncovered by Ovuorie was involved in transnational sex trafficking, as well as organ trafficking.
2022: Mstyslav Chernov and Evgeniy Maloletka, Ukraine
Ukrainian visual journalist and novelist Mstyslav Chernov and photojournalist Evgeniy Maloletka are the 2022 DW Freedom of Speech Award laureates. The Freedom of Speech Award recognizes their work on the AP report "20 days in Mariupol" and offers a unique account of Mariupol under Russian siege, with Chernov and Maloletka being the last journalists in the city before their evacuation.