They will be honored at the 10th annual ICFJ Awards Dinner at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, DC, on November 13. The dinner also will feature Keynote Speaker Bob Woodruff and Master of Ceremonies George Stephanopoulos.
Abbas, 32, is the first blogger to win the award. His blog, Misr Digital (Egyptian Awareness,) regularly breaks stories on subjects generally avoided by local media, such as protests, corruption, and police brutality. His vivid first-hand reports, videos and photographs have attracted thousands of readers and the attention of mainstream news outlets, which have begun to pick up his hard-hitting stories.
Abbas has been arrested, interrogated, and beaten, but remains undaunted. “The bloggers in Egypt are the last independent voice,” he recently wrote. “If we are silenced, no protests will be heard in Egypt… And so the choice to blog is not only serious, but necessary.”
“Wael Abbas and May Thingyan Hein are blazing the path in their countries with extremely bold coverage,” says ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “We want to honor them for exposing issues no one else will cover and encourage others to follow their example.”
The award, given by the Knight International Journalism Fellowships Program, recognizes individuals who have raised the standards of media excellence in their countries. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Knight International Fellows lead high-impact projects that help news media make societies more accountable to their citizens.