Christiane Amanpour named UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety

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© UNESCO/Fabrice Gentile

Renowned British journalist and CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour today became UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Freedom of Expression and Journalist Safety in a ceremony at the Organization’s Headquarters in Paris.

The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, named Ms Amanpour “in recognition of her efforts to promote free, independent and pluralistic media, having the right to work free from the threat of violence, and contributing through this to peace, sustainability, poverty eradication and human rights.”

In her acceptance speech, Ms Amanpour stressed the important role of journalists as “pillars of reform, freedom and democracy” whose task was to “strengthen civil society”. “We’re here to make the world a better place” she said. She also made an impassioned plea for the release of all imprisoned journalists, wherever they may be, and condemned the increasing number of attacks and assassinations of media professionals

Christiane Amanpour has won every major television journalism award including eleven News and Documentary Emmy Awards, four Peabody Awards, two George Polk Awards, three duPont-Columbia Awards and the Courage in Journalism Award. She has received nine honorary degrees, has been named a Commander in the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) and was this year inducted into the Cable Hall of Fame. She is a member of the board of directors of the Committee to Protect Journalists, one of UNESCO’s partners in its work for freedom of expression and journalists’ safety. She is also on the boards of directors of the Centre for Public Integrity and the International Women’s Media Foundation.

United States Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources, Heather Higginbottom, also spoke at today’s designation ceremony.  It was attended by many Ambassadors and Permanent Delegates of UNESCO’s Member States.

UNESCO Goodwill Ambassadors are an outstanding group of personalities who have generously agreed to use their talent and status to help focus the world's attention on the work of the Organization in education, science, culture and communication.