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UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize

Application Process

Eligible candidates are individuals, organizations or institutions who have made a significant contribution to the defence and/or promotion of press freedom anywhere in the world, and especially when this has been achieved in the face of danger. Prizes may be conferred upon individuals, institutions, other entities or non-governmental organizations representing all types of media including digital media. Any nomination not submitted according to the Regulations of the Prize will be excluded, including self-nominations.




All applications must be submitted in English or French via the specified application form. The preferred mode of submission is electronically, but if this is not possible postal applications and nominations are also acceptable.

The Director-General of UNESCO officially invites the submission of nominations to the Secretariat of the Prize, by 15 February, from the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, as well as from international and regional professional and non-governmental organizations active in the fields of journalism and freedom of expression.

To submit an application, the applicant must fill out the application form available online in English and French and send it by mail or by email to:

Communication and Information Sector
Division of Freedom of Expression and Media Development
Section for Freedom of Expression
7 Place de Fontenoy
75007 Paris
Tel: +33 1 45 68 08 91
E-mail: s.coudray(at)unesco.org

Applicants are encouraged to include relevant supporting materials to their nomination such as a high-resolution and copyright free photo portrait of the candidate, as well as all necessary background documents (e.g. résumé, news clippings, Statutes of the organization, etc.).



National Endorsement


Nominations are submitted to the Director-General by the governments of Member States, in consultation with their National Commissions, and by international and regional professional and non-governmental organizations active in the field of journalism and freedom of expression. A self-nomination will be considered.

Each nomination is to be accompanied by a written recommendation, which includes, in English or French, inter alia:

a description of the candidate’s background and achievements
a description of the candidate’s background and achievements;
a summary of the work or the results of the work, publications and other supporting documents of major importance, submitted for consideration
the candidate’s contributions of major importance to the promotion of freedom of the press, submitted to the Jury for consideration;
a definition of the candidate’s contribution to the Prize’s objectives
a definition of the candidate’s contribution to the Prize’s objectives;
a high-resolution photo portrait of the candidate
a high-resolution photo portrait of the candidate

Contact details of UNESCO National Commissions


Jury Assessment


When the nomination is found in compliance with the regulations for submissions and the written recommendation is submitted, the application of the nominee is assessed by an independent Jury of experts on several specific criteria.

The Jury deliberates annually by electronic means and the Prize winner is elected by a majority vote. Only one prize winner will be recommended to the Director-General of UNESCO. No appeals can be made against this final decision.






UNESCO will officially announce the name(s) of the winner(s) in a press release and communicate the decision to the previous laureates and other applicants.


Award Ceremony


The Prize is awarded by the Director-General at an official ceremony that will be held on 2 May, within the framework of the 2018 World Press Freedom Day celebrations. UNESCO presents to the Prize winner a check for the amount of the Prize, together with a diploma and an object symbolizing the award.

The laureate, will give, if possible, a lecture on a subject relevant to the work for which the Prize has been awarded.