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Israeli journalist awarded UN press prize for reports on Palestinian territories

Israeli journalist awarded UN press prize for reports on Palestinian territories

An Israeli journalist was today awarded a United Nations press freedom prize for her critical and independent reporting on the daily lives and hardships faced by Palestinians.

Amira Hass, who has spent the last decade living in and reporting on the Palestinian territories for the Israeli daily newspaper Ha'aretz, was awarded the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize for 2003 by UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura at the recommendation of an international jury.

"Amira Hass has been showing outstanding professional commitment and independence, as well as personal courage, over the past decade," Mr. Matsuura said. "If peace is to be established between Israelis and Palestinians it will be thanks to people like Ms. Hass who are able to look at the facts and understand them."

Ms. Hass is the first and only Israeli journalist living in the Palestinian territories, where she moved after the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement in 1993. Despite restrictions from both the Israeli military authorities and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), she continues to file independent reports that have exposed her to pressure from both sides, UNESCO said.

The $25,000 prize, awarded each year on the recommendation of an independent jury of media professional from all over the world, will be officially presented in Kingston, Jamaica, on 3 May at a UNESCO ceremony to celebrate World Press Freedom Day.