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UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

Country: France
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UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

Created in 1997, the annual UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize honours a person, organization or institution that has made an outstanding contribution to the defense and, or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger.

The Prize was established on the initiative of UNESCO’s Executive Board and is formally conferred by UNESCO, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, on 3 May. It is named in honor of Guillermo Cano Isaza, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper El Spectator in Bogotá, Colombia on 17 December 1986.

Background of UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

Born in Bogotá, Colombia on 12 August 1925, Guillermo Cano Isaza was assassinated on 17 December 1986, at the entrance to the office of El Espectador, where he had served as the editor since the age of 27. The newspaper’s building was destroyed in a bomb attack three years later.

The murder of Guillermo Cano is significant in terms of unpunished crimes against journalists. Cano was a victim of drug trafficking mafias, whom he fearlessly denounced and about whose harmful effects on Colombian society he cautioned. On 17 December 1986 two hired killers waited for him by the newspaper’s exit and fired the eight shots that killed him.

The magistrates in charge of the investigation became the object of threats and bribes, with some being murdered for rejecting such bribes. The life of Guillermo Cano, his courage, his compromise with independent journalism and the tenacity with which he fought for his country are an example for the rest of the world to follow.

“You might find it worthwhile to investigate”

Prize for UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

  • A  $25,000 Prize is awarded to the winner.


  • UNESCO invites Member States to nominate candidates for UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2024, in consultation with their National Commissions, as well as international and regional professional non-governmental organizations in the field of journalism and press freedom.


The nomination form should be submitted in English or in French, by 15 February 2024 by post to:

  • Secretariat of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
    Freedom of Expression and Safety of Journalists Section
    7, Place de Fontenoy
    75352 Paris cedex 07, France

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Type of Opportunity Competitions and Awards
Deadline15 February,2023
Open toAll
Contact the organizer [email protected]



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