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Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of Premium Times, gets International Press Freedom award

Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of Premium Times, gets International Press Freedom award
July 13
19:40 2020

Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of Premium Times, has been honoured with the International Press Freedom award.

He was named alongside three other journalists: Shahidul Alam (Bangladesh), a photojournalist and commenter, from Bangladesh; Mohammad Mosaed (Iran), a freelance economic reporter who investigates corruption, labour issues and popular protests and Svetlana Prokopyeva (Russia), a regional correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, known as Radio Svoboda.

In a statement, CPJ said all the awardees have at one time, faced criminal prosecution for their reporting.

“The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor four courageous journalists from Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria, and Russia with the 2020 International Press Freedom Awards,” Joel Simon, CPJ executive director, said.


“All four have been arrested or faced criminal prosecution in reprisal for their reporting. CPJ will also honor lawyer Amal Clooney with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.

“Like brave and committed journalists everywhere, CPJ’s honorees set out to report the news without fear or favor for the benefit of their communities, their country, and the world.

“They understood that they would confront powerful forces, enemies of the truth, who would try to stop them from doing their work. What they did not foresee was COVID-19. The global pandemic has not only made their jobs more difficult and dangerous, it has fueled a ferocious press freedom crackdown as autocratic leaders around the world suppress unwelcome news under the guise of protecting public health.”


CPJ said the winners will be honoured at its annual benefit gala on November 19, 2020.

The event will be chaired by Patrick Gaspard, president of Open Society Foundations, and hosted by Lester Holt, veteran broadcast journalist.

“Due to health and safety restrictions related to COVID-19, this year’s gala will be virtual, with video profiles, compelling press freedom stories, award presentations, and acceptance speeches streamed online and shared around the world,” the statement read.

Olorunyomi has paid his dues in journalism.  He was deputy editor-in-chief of The News magazine in 1993.


An advocate for press freedom, Olorunyomi was declared wanted for his activism and work against the administration of Sani Abacha, late dictator, and was forced into exile in the United States in 1995.

He returned to Nigeria in 2004 and would later serve as policy director at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), where he designed and pioneered the agency’s crime prevention and education policy.

He was also an editor at Radio Nigeria, African Guardian magazines, and 234next.com, where he set up and headed the investigative reporting team of the newspaper.

In 2005, he founded the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), an organisation whose objective is to use investigative journalism to expose corruption, regulatory failures and human rights abuses in the Nigerian media.


He later founded Premium Times in 2011.

In January 2017, he was arrested and detained by the police over an alleged refusal to retract news stories about the Nigerian army and its operations.


His work as editor during the years of military dictatorship in Nigeria earned him the 1995 International Editor of the Year Award of the World Press Review; the 1996 PEN Centre (West) Freedom to Write Award; Press Freedom Award (1996) of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) New York; and a 1996 Hellman Hemmett grant from Human Rights Watch.

He also received the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019.


In an interview with Sahara Reporters on press freedom under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2017, Olorunyomi  said: “The understanding is that things have declined with respect to restrcition of access, the climate of fear and worrying concern about intimidation of journalists.”


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