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Iran's Ganji Dedicates Press Award To Jailed Journalists

Iranian journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji (file photo)
Iranian journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji (file photo)
Prominent Iranian journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji has dedicated a press freedom award to journalists and bloggers imprisoned in Iran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The Vienna-based International Press Institute last month declared Ganji as its 59th "World Press Freedom Hero" in recognition of his work defending freedom of speech despite harassment and imprisonment. Ganji was one of 60 "World Press Freedom Heroes" honored in an IPI ceremony on September 13 in Vienna.

Ganji told Radio Farda on September 15 that the award cannot "consider all individuals in this field and it is only given to the representative of those heroes. Therefore I believe this award belongs to all of our hero journalists and bloggers who are now in prison."

"When I see myself free in democratic countries while my best friends and colleagues are in prison in awful situations, then I believe that this award first belongs to them and then belongs to me in second place," he added.

Ganji spent six years in Iran's Evin prison for articles that accused high-level political figures and clerics of involvement in the assassinations of intellectuals and dissidents in the 1980s and the '90s.

He continued to write while in prison and his best-selling book, "The Dungeon of Ghosts," is credited with helping defeat a number of conservative candidates in the 2000 elections.

He was released in 2006 and is now based abroad.