The internet activist and founder of whistleblower website, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange has been awarded the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism 2011.
The prize is presented annually to a journalist “whose work has penetrated the established version of events and told an unpalatable truth that exposes establishment propaganda, or ‘official drivel’, as Martha Gellhorn called it”.
The judges ruled unanimously in favour of Assange, whose work in exposing classified information to the public was described as “a truth-telling that has empowered people all over the world”.
They said: “As publisher and editor [of WikiLeaks], Julian Assange represents that which journalists once prided themselves in – he’s brave, determined, independent: a true agent of people not of power.”
The panel also awarded a Martha Gelhorn Special Award for Journalism to Umar Cheema, of the International Times of Pakistan, Charles Clover, Moscow correspondent of the Financial Times, and Jonathan Cook, the independent journalist based in Nazareth.
Previous winners of the £5,000 Gellhorn prize include Johann Hari, Robert Fisk, Geoffrey Lean, Patrick Coburn and Ghaith Abdul Ahad.