Mohammed Omer wins Reporters Without Borders journalism award

I just got an e-mail from Mohammed Omer and I’m pleased to tell you he received a journalism award from Reporters Without Borders.

Swedish press freedom prize to Gaza journalist Mohammed Omer

Photojournalist Mohammed Omer has been awarded the Swedish section of Reporters without borders Press freedom prize 2008. His courageous reporting gives a voice to the confined and oppressed people of Gaza. At 24 Mohammed Omer is one of the most important young voices from the region.

Mohammed Omer reports for numerous media outlets, including the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Pacifica Radio, Electronic Intifada, The Nation, and Inter Press Service; he also founded the Rafah Today blog.

In 2006 Mohammed Omer was awarded the Best Youth Voice Award from New American Media.

In 2008, Omer was awarded the 2007 Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. In the award citation, Omer was honored as “the voice of the voiceless” and his reports were described as a “humane record of the injustice imposed on a community forgotten by much of the world.”

After he received the Martha Gellhorn Prize in June 2008 Mohammed Omer travelled back to the Gaza Strip via the West Bank, Omer reported that he was stripped to his underwear, humiliated and beaten by Israeli soldiers while travelling into the West Bank from Jordan. According to a United Nations report, Mohammed Omer is convinced that the brutal assault occurred when the security services were frustrated at their inability to confiscate the money he’d been awarded. He was subsequently hospitalized upon his return to Gaza, where it was discovered that Omer had sustained severe damage to the spine and ribs and various bodily contusions as a result of the ordeal.

Since November 2008 Mohammed Omer has been in the Netherlands receiving medical treatments for his injuries.

The Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Prize 2008 will be officially awarded to Mohammed Omer on 17th of February 2009. The prize ceremony takes place in the International Press Centre at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in Stockholm.

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