Titus Brandsma Award honours promoter of press freedom

Professor Andres Canizales

Professor Andres Canizales

The International Catholic Union of the Press has announced the winner of the 2010 Titus Brandsma Award, a prize named in honour of a Carmelite martyr. The laureate is the journalist Professor Andres Canizales (pictured) who has worked for more than a decade to defend human rights, especially freedom of expression, in Venezuela.

The Titus Brandsma Award is one of the most prestigious in the world of the media, honouring journalists, publishers, professors of communication, publications or institutes who have suffered threats or persecution because of their engagement in the media on behalf of an important humanitarian or Christian issue.

The Award was established in memory of Blessed Titus Brandsma,  a Carmelite friar, scholar and journalist from the Netherlands was who imprisoned and executed in Dachau during World War II for declaring the freedom of the press, insisting that Catholic papers could not collaborate with the Nazis by printing fascist propaganda.

The Titus Brandsma Award  is bestowed by three groups working in partnership: the Dutch Province of Carmelites; the Dutch Catholic Bishops' Conference; and the International Catholic Union of the Press (UCIP), which is a worldwide network of professionals in secular and religious media. Based in Geneva, the UCIP promotes values-oriented journalism and provides formation for the advancement of justice and peace through the media. The Award - which consists of a presentation certificate and a prize of 1,500 Euros - will be conferred at the UCIP World Congress to be held at Ouagadougou in the African country of Burkina Faso in September 2010.

The Titus Brandsma Award recognises initiatives that promote dialogue and respect for human dignity through the media. In its citation, the UCIP praises Professor Canizales for his efforts to encourage the understanding that without true freedom of expression a nation cannot advance or communicate. He has recognised this freedom of expression as the major democratic challenge in today’s Venezuela, despite threats from anti-democracy forces.

For more than five years Professor Canizalez has been the co-ordinator of a unique postgraduate university programme in Latin America on “Investigation and Promotion of Freedom of Expression”.

According to UCIP, instead of joining the forces of polarisation Professor Canizales has promoted dialogue between opposing groups, bringing together divided parties for the common good of all. These polarised groups include sections of the media itself, divided by political allegiances and the dictates of proprietors.

Share this story