The Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) has honoured Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia and Slovak journalist Ján Kuciak posthumously with a Golden Victoria 2018 for press freedom during a ceremony in Berlin on 5 November.
The awards were collected by Kuciak’s father, Jozef Kuciak, and Caruana Galizia’s son, Matthew Caruana Galizia, and her sister Corinne Vella. Kuciak and his fiancee were shot dead at their home in February of 2018, while Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb a few metres outside her home in October 2017.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also awarded the Golden Victoria for political leadership. Merkel was recognised for her leadership style, highlighting her many contributions to addressing global challenges, including the refugee crisis, financial turmoil, terrorist attacks, and violent conflicts.
For over 10 years, the magazine publishers have honoured people for their leadership, among others on behalf of civil society. Merkel was a strong advocate of a free press, the publishers noted.
The journalists’ assassinations clearly demonstrate the consequences of the rising global threats towards journalists even within the EU, the publishers said in a statement. “However, the fight of their surviving colleagues, family members and the public are a sign that the free press will not be silenced in times of crisis, but rather gains impact in new-found unity”.
The ceremony was attended by over 800 journalists, politicians, diplomats and public figures.
VDZ’s commitment to the defence of freedom of the press and freedom of speech goes beyond the annual Golden Victoria award and extends to a year-round press freedom campaign, fighting for the rights of publishers and journalists.