The 2012 Gebran Tueni award, which was established by WAN-IFRA (The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers), was awarded to famous Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat. The cartoonist is well known for his satirical drawings that targeted against corruption and dictatorship. The award was established to honour outstanding individuals from the news media in the Arab region.
According to WAN-IFRA, the award was given in recognition of Farzat’s unprecedented contribution to freedom of expression and as an acknowledgment to his unwavering commitment, despite physical attack, to expose the excesses of power through his cartoons. The award was presented on 11th December in Beirut, on the eve of the seventh death anniversary of Gebran Tueni, the Lebanese publisher who was killed in a car bomb in Beirut in 2005.
“This prize means a lot to me as an artist because it signifies that my voice has been heard. It also gives me faith that I am on the right path and that my ideas and ideals are getting through to the people,” said Farzat. “I would like to thank everyone who supported my nomination for the Gebran Tueni Award. I truly appreciate the great work done by WAN-IFRA and An-Nahar in defending and fighting for a free press and the right to freedom of expression,” he continued.
In over four decades of cartooning, Farzat has published thousands of caricatures across Syrian, Arab and international newspapers, including France’s Le Monde. He has received numerous international awards including the prestigious Dutch Prince Claus Award for “achievement in culture and development”. In 2011, he was joint recipient of the European parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought along with other prominent ‘Arab Spring’ activists.
In making the award, WAN-IFRA said: “Ali Farzat’s biting wit and unfaltering commitment to exposing the excesses of power have made him the scourge of dictators and corrupt regimes across the Arab world. His cartoons have become icons of resistance and universal symbols for freedom of expression that resonate worldwide. This award is testimony to Farzat’s courage and determination to stand up to oppression as a leading figure in a generation that is unafraid to speak out against injustice.”