AUSTRIA (AFP)–The International Press Institute named Hrant Dink, the murdered editor-in-chief of the bilingual Turkish-Armenian weekly Agos, as one of its World Press Freedom Heroes on Monday.
"Hrant Dink’s nomination as our 52nd World Press Freedom Hero is a tribute to his bravery, but also an acknowledgement of his significant contribution to freedom of expression and press freedom in Turkey," IPI Director Johann Fritz said.
Dink, a well-known Turkish-Armenian editor and columnist, was murdered in Istanbul on January 19, 2007. He was shot twice in the head and once in the neck by a Turkish nationalist outside the offices of the newspaper he set up in 1996.
He had run into trouble with the law for articles about the 1915-17 massacres of Armenia’s under the Ottoman Empire during World War I and received a six-month suspended sentence in July 2006 for denigrating "Turkishness". Dink was also facing prosecution for a second article condemning his conviction, and had received death threats. The murder trial opened in Istanbul on July 2 with 18 people charged in connection with his assassination.
"The murder of Hrant Dink deprived Turkey of one of its most courageous and independent voices and it was a terrible event for Turkish press freedom in general," Fritz said as he handed the IPI award to Dink’s widow, Rakel.
Dink was one of at least 91 journalists murdered so far in 2007, IPI said. "In most cases, these murders occurred with impunity. We call on governmen’s around the world to ensure that those responsible for these heinous crimes are brought to justice," Fritz said.
At Dink’s funeral on January 23, 100,000 people marched in protest at his assassination, chanting, "We are all Armenia’s" and "We are all Hrant Dink."