José Couso Freedom of the Press Award
The Professional Association of Journalists of Galicia and the Ferrol Press Club organised in 2005 the first edition of the José Couso Freedom of the Press Award, in collaboration with the bank Caixanova. This initiative was launched with the aim of evoking the memory of and paying tribute to the murdered journalist, as well as reporting the circumstances of his death. The intention of the organisers is to personify in this cameraman all journalists, whether Galician or not, who are victimized, prosecuted and killed for fighting for the freedom of speech.
José Couso was shot on the 8th of April 2003 while he was working for the Spanish Tele5 news bulletin. A Ukrainian cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, was also killed in the attack. The organisers intend to make Couso a representative of all those journalists, whether Galician or not, who are killed, battered or deprived of their rights as communicators and human beings every year.
The objective of this award is to acknowledge and spread the work of an existing organization or person with a relevant role in defending the freedom of speech, or with a significant and independent career in the field of journalism. In that sense, one of the special features of the award is the process of selection and proposal of candidates. The members of the Professional Association of Journalists of Galicia and of the Ferrol Press Club or any person or organisation related to journalism can nominate a candidate in conditions of full equality. Once the candidacies are approved, the members of the Professional Association of Journalists of Galicia and the Press Club will vote to elect the winner.
In the first edition in 2005, the Award went to the Moroccan journalist Ali Lmrabet, who was imprisoned in his country for exercising his right of freedom of speech, as he questioned the Alaouite dinasty and mentioned the right to self-determination of the Western Sahara.
The second José Couso Award was awarded to the newspaper Le Monde Diplomatique, based in France and published in more than 10 countries. In this case, it was a homage to its trajectory of defence of the freedom of speech through the exercise of a kind of journalism which is independent of the economic and political powers and very firm when denouncing social injustices.
The winners of this Award do not receive any money. The winner, whose name is announced every 3rd of May, the World Press Freedom Day, is awarded with a diploma and a reproduction of the sculpture 'Ás ceives' ('Free Wings'), the symbol of the Award created by Manuel Patinha.