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Freedom of Speech Award for WH Correspondents’ Association

May 3, 2017

DW is honoring the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) with the Freedom of Speech Award. DW Director General Limbourg will present WHCA President Mason with the award at the Global Media Forum in June.

Sean Spicer
Image: picture alliance/AP Images/A. Harnik

The journalists of the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) are holding US leadership accountable. In spite of the current US president denying their credibility and being exposed to sometimes personal attacks on their integrity, the accredited journalists of the WHCA are establishing a new benchmark in reporting about the policies of the new US administration. 

DW Director General Peter Limbourg: “We have complete trust in the democracy in the United States of America. This entails that we are reliant on a strong media. The White House Correspondents’ Association is a guarantor for the control of those in power.” Allegations of “fake news” and tirades on social media by the US president himself posed a new challenge for the media in a country which holds democratic principles in high regard, Limbourg said.

Jeff Mason
WHCA President Jeff MasonImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/C. Owen

WHCA President Jeff Mason: “The White House Correspondents’ Association is deeply humbled and honored to be chosen by Deutsche Welle to receive the Freedom of Speech Award. The WHCA fights every day for the rights of reporters to cover leaders who make policies that affect the entire world. Press freedom in the United States is not a given, despite the protection provided by the constitution. We must remain vigilant to ensure that those freedoms persist, regardless of who holds power in Washington.”

USA Washington Journalisten im Weißen Haus
Press briefing room at the White HouseImage: Getty Images/M. Wilson

DW Freedom of Speech Award

Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle established the Freedom of Speech Award two years ago, to honor a person or initiative promoting freedom of expression and human rights in an exceptional way. 

Washington White House Correspondents' Association dinner Minhaj
WHCA dinner 2017 with comedian Hasan MinhajImage: Reuters/J. Ernst

Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi received the award in 2015. His wife Ensaf Haidar accepted the award on his behalf. Last year, the award went to Sedat Ergin, then editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily “Hurriyet,” the last independent newspaper which dared to oppose the government of President Erdogan. 

The award ceremony will take place at Deutsche Welle’s international media conference, the Global Media Forum, in Bonn on June 19, 2017. DW’s annual conference convenes some 2.000 politicians, journalists and representatives of civic platforms from 100 countries to discuss initiatives supporting democratic change and strengthening the role of the media.