03 May 2022 The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) presented their annual Honorary Title for Freedom of Expression on Monday evening at the European Gala Award Ceremony for Freedom of Expression. Two laureates were presented with the award in Bozar: the Belarusian Association for Journalists and the international organization The Fix.
Every year, the VUB and the ULB organize Difference Day, an event that celebrates the International Day of Press Freedom on 3 May. With the war in Ukraine in mind, this year two laureates are committed to ensuring independent journalism in times of war. They receive the award for their crucial and courageous contribution to freedom of expression.
The Belarusian Association for Journalists (BAJ) has been campaigning for 26 years for the rights and support of Belarusian journalists and independent media who are threatened and persecuted by President Alexandr Lukashenko's regime. The second laureate, The Fix, is an international organization of and by journalists. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, they formed the basis of a consortium that provides assistance to fellow journalists in Ukraine.
Russia's most famous cartoonist Victoria Lomasko was also present at the award ceremony on Monday. She fled to Brussels in March to escape the censorship imposed on her in her own country. On Monday evening she presented her new work in Bozar, an anti-war statement.
Finally, it was announced that Dmitri Muratov, a journalist at the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, and Maria Resa, a Filipino journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2021, will receive honorary doctorates.