The Fix Media and the Belarusian Association of Journalists have been named the Honorary Title recipients of Difference Day 2022.
The Fix Media was founded two years ago by Jakub Parusinski in Ukraine, with the aim of becoming an online magazine for media professionals. Since the Russian invasion, it has become a crucial support platform for local media, helping journalists on the ground, supporting those forced to relocate, providing equipment and raising funds to keep media outlets going as the market that usually supports them collapses.
The Belarusian Association of Journalists, led by Andrei Bastunets, was forced to disband in 2021 after 25 years of operating in Belarus but has re-banded in exile. It aims to defend journalists and freedom of speech in a country where at least 27 journalists or media employees are imprisoned and at least 300 have been forced to flee, following a crackdown on independent media by the Lukashenko regime.
The Honorary Title award is given annually to journalistic organisations or individuals that promote freedom of speech, often despite extreme personal risks. The first recipient in 2015 was Saudi Arabian blogger and activist Raif Badawi, who was released from prison earlier this year after serving a 10-year sentence.
The award is a key component of Difference Day, an annual event that takes place in Brussels supporting freedom of speech and a free press. It coincides with World Press Freedom Day on 3 May, which was created by the UN General Assembly to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Find out more about Difference Day here.
This year’s Difference Day programme runs from 2 May until 5 May and includes performances of the play They Blew Her Up, which explores the brutal murder of Maltese journalist and anti-corruption campaigner Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Ahmed Gamal Zaidi, one of the first participants in the pilot Journalistic Voices Diversified project supported by the Evens Foundation, will be part of a panel discussing the experiences of journalists in exile on 3 May.
On 5 May, Voxeurop will host a conversation examining the reception of Ukrainian exiles in Europe, bringing together various reports from its current series with the Evens Foundation.
Other events include a discussion between young and established journalists on the future of the press in Europe and a panel on journalism during ties of crisis, which will focus particularly on Ukraine and the impact of the Russian invasion on local media.
The Evens Foundation is an organising partner, alongside the Univerité Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Erasmus Hogeschool Brussel and BOZAR.