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2/2/2011

The Ossietzky Prize


The Ossietzky Prize

International PEN has established 15th November as the international Writers in Prison Day.  This is an annual event focusing on the perils facing writers, publishers, editors and journalists using their freedom of expression.  Freedom of Expression, as stated in article 19 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights, is a right given to everyone. 

Unfortunately, in many countries this right is under severe pressure and cannot be taken for granted.  In 2002, more than 700 writers and journalists were attacked or put in prison, some were even killed.

For the past ten years, Norwegian PEN has awarded the Ossietzky Prize for outstanding achievements within the field of freedom of expression on 15th November.  The prize has been awarded to literary writers Axel Jensen, Johanna Schwartz, Wera Sæther, Brit Karin Larsen and Koigi wa Wamwere, journalists/writers Elisabeth Eide, Aage Borchgrevink, Fakhra Salimi , Håkon Børde and Ebba Haslund, publisher Sigmund Strømme, supreme court judge Ketil Lund and the City of Stavanger.  The Ossietzky Prize for 2007 was awarded the Oslo-based radio station "Democratic Voice of Burma".

The Ossietzky Prize for 2008 was awarded leader of the Norwegian Tibet Committee, Chungdak Koren and chair of the Freedom of Expression Foundation, former leader of the Freedom of Expression Commission, professor Francis Sejersted.

The Ossietzky Prize for 2009 was awarded Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer.  For 2010 it was awarded former cities of asylum guestwriter in Stavanger, Norway, Iranian writer and playwright Mansur Koushan, for 2011 to Iranian human rights-lawyer Mohammad Mostafaei and in 2012 to Norwegian/Pakistani artist, music- and filmproducer and human rights activist Deeyah.

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