Turkish journalist Hasan Cemal wins Harvard award

Nieman Fellows in the class of 2015 at Harvard University have selected prominent Turkish journalist and writer Hasan Cemal as this year's recipient of the Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism.

Cemal was chosen in recognition of a long career dedicated to championing freedom of the press in Turkey and as a representative of all Turkish journalists working under increasingly difficult conditions, Nieman Foıundation stated on its website on Dec. 17.

"Hasan Cemal and Turkish journalists like him have shown great courage in upholding the importance of a free press in their native land. Bearing witness and speaking truth to power are more necessary than ever in Turkey and other places around the world where journalists face government hostility, harassment, and arrest," the Nieman Fellows said.

Cemal has served as a reporter, editor and columnist at various Turkish news organizations. He resigned from daily Milliyet last year after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was the prime minister at the time, publically criticized a column he wrote in defense of the paper's reporting of sensitive negotiations between the government and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Cemal resigned after Milliyet allegedly decided not to publish his columns with similar content.

"Critical voices and a free press are vital to a healthy democracy, which Turkey professes to be," the Nieman Fellows said in their award citation. "We applaud all those like Cemal and others who work to ensure that the media in Turkey can do their job without fear or favor."

More recently, Cemal helped found and serves as the president of Punto24, a nonprofit initiative aimed at promoting editorial independence, journalistic practice,...

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