The National Press Club (NPC) announced on Monday that it is honouring the detained Egyptian photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zaid, known as Shawkan, with its annual John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, according to a club statement.
The NPC is a US organisation that supports press freedom and government transparency around the world. Every year the club selects one US journalist and one international.
Tim Tai is the US photojournalist who won the award this year. According to the press statement, he is a “US student photographer who stood up to an angry crowd at the University of Missouri last [autumn]”.
The awards will be presented during the annual Fourth Estate Award dinner at the club’s headquarters in September.
The club honours those who ”embody the heart of journalism” and have the courage to report what other people reject “to hear, and to do so even in trying circumstances”.
The club president Thomas Burr said that the two winners have shown courage and perseverance in various events that took place across the world.
Shawkan was arrested in August 2013 during the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in. He has subsequently been held in pre-trial detention for over 1,000 days. This does not comply with Egypt’s penal code which stipulates that the remand period should not exceed two years.
The club president condemned the Egyptian photojournalist’s detention and the charges levelled against him, saying he considers them to be ”trumped up”.
He further criticised the security crackdown against journalists in Egypt, saying that the situation of journalists in the country is not improving. Egypt has become one of the countries with the most journalists detained in its prisons.
The club named its annual John Aubuchon award for the former NPC president who was a dedicated advocate for freedom of the press.
The NPC is a world leading professional organisation for journalists. Its Press Freedom Committee works to encourage freedom of expression and transparency in the US and other countries.