Project news & updates

Launch of the Kamel Shiaa Prize for Young Iraqi Journalists

22 September 2010 | PRESS RELEASE


We are pleased to announce that a prize will be dedicated to the memory of the late Iraqi/Belgian intellectual and writer Kamel Shiaa Abdullah, who was assassinated in Baghdad on 23 August, 2008. He had returned to his native country after the end of the 2003 US-led invasion, hoping to help repair the post-conflict aftermath of political, ideological and social chaos. 

The role and ideas of the late Kamel Shiaa Abdullah have given enormous encouragement to those committed to a civic society, freedom of press as a fabric of democracy, law and order and diversity. His political rigor, understated charisma, enormous personal charm and intellectual eminence all contributed to his significant importance among fellow intellectuals, writers, artists, journalists and colleagues at the Ministry of Culture, where he worked as an adviser and as a Chair of National co-ordination Committee for Safeguarding of the Cultural Heritage of Iraq at UNESCO. 

The terms and conditions of Kamel Shiaa Prize (organised in collaboration with his family, the EJC, and other supporters), will be officially announced on September 26, 2010 at the Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels coinciding with its second year anniversary commemoration. The prize will be given to a young Iraqi journalist, coming at a time when a flurry of recent murders of independent journalists in Iraq could be described as part of a campaign to suppress objective voices.

By Faysal Abdullah, Iraqi journalist based in London.

Kamel Shiaa Prize
In 2010, the EJC joined the first Kamel Shiaa Prize award for Iraqi press freedom. Commemorating Iraqi intellectual and writer Kamel Shiaa, assassinated in 2008, the press award promotes intercultural dialogue through journalism. The competition, open to young Iraqi journalists, was won in 2011 by Maryam Mohammed Jaafar, for her excellent treatment of children’s rights and intercultural dialogue.