The International Freedom of Expression Awards honors those who fight against censorship in the fields of art, campaign, digital activism and journalism.
The award this year was given to journalist-painter Zehra Doğan, who was jailed for more than 2 years in prison because of the news she wrote during the genocidal attacks in Nusaybin district of Mardin.
Doğan received the award at a ceremony in London and dedicated it to DTK co-chair and HDP Hakkari MP Leyla Güven and all the hunger strikers in prison.
In her speech in Kurdish Doğan called on people to support the hunger strike against isolation. “In my country, – she said – deputy Leyla Güven and thousands of prisoners are on hunger strike and they have reached a critical stage.”
Who is Zehra Doğan
Released from prison on 24 February 2019, Zehra Doğan is a Kurdish painter and journalist who, during her imprisonment, was denied access to materials for her work.
She painted with dyes made from crushed fruit and herbs, even blood, and used newspapers and milk cartons as canvases.
When she realised her reports from Turkey’s Kurdish region were being ignored by mainstream media, Doğan began painting the destruction in the town of Nusaybin and sharing it on social media. For this she was arrested and imprisoned.
During her imprisonment she refused to be silenced and continued to produce journalism and art. She collected and wrote stories about female political prisoners, reported on human rights abuses in prison, and painted despite the prison administration’s refusal to supply her with art materials.