Raed Fares, the Syrian Journalist and Activist, Receives Legatum Institute’s 2020 Courage in Journalism Award
Philippa Stroud and Nathan Gamester of the Legatum Institute, with Courage in Journalism judges Mike Thomson, of the BBC; Abeer Saady, of the Ethical Journalism Network; and Kate Clark, of the Afghanistan Analysts Network. Photo: Legatum Institute
LONDON, Feb 28 – The London-based Legatum Institute announced the 2020 Courage in Journalism Award, honouring the legacy of those journalists that were killed in the course of doing their job, Wed, February 26, 2020.
The recipient of this year’s Award was the Syrian journalist and prominent activist, Raed Fares, who was killed by unknown gunmen, in response to his broadcasting which was critical of the Assad regime and Islamist extremists.
Raed Fares was the founder and director of the independent Syrian radio station Radio Fresh. He had been targeted on numerous occasions in the past, including being abducted multiple times and tortured by al-Qaeda militants. In 2014 he survived an assassination attempt by members of the Islamic State, in which he sustained two bullet wounds to the chest.
Despite these attacks, he continued to work as both a journalist and activist, drawing domestic and international attention to the continued violence in Syria. Fares was keenly aware of the risks he was taking but continued to use his voice to advocate for a free, democratic Syria.
During his keynote address, Mike Thomson, the BBC World Affairs Correspondent and one of the Courage in Journalism award judges commented: “Raed Fares is most certainly a very worthy recipient of this award. I had the privilege of getting to know him a little and was constantly inspired by his extraordinary courage and enduring optimism in the face of relentless threats to his life.”
Raed’s son, Mahmoud Fares, received the Award on his father’s behalf, paying tribute to his father and all journalists around the world who risk their lives to expose the truth.