Tunisia's Radio Kalima wins IPI Free Media Pioneer Award 2011
The annual award, given out every year at the Vienna-based press freedom organisation's World Congress, honours media or organisations that have fought to ensure freer and more independent media in their country.
Radio Kalima was founded by prominent journalists Naziha Razjib and Sihem Bensedrine in 2000. It quickly became a target for repeated harassment by the authorities, and was banned in Tunisia.
Under former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the station was forced to resort to broadcasting clandestinely. Members of Radio Kalima faced continual surveillance and threats while in the country, were prevented from meeting other journalists, activists or opposition members, and were at various points detained, attacked, and subjected to criminal charges.
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"Radio Kalima's undaunted commitment to independent reporting in the face of all odds has been an inspiration for all of us, and for media around the world", said IPI Director Alison Bethel McKenzie, announcing the award. "There are still many questions surrounding the state of the media in Tunisia, and many steps to be taken. This award is an expression of our support, and the support of our network of members around the world, for Radio Kalima, and for independent media in Tunisia."