Egyptian journalist and unionist Khaled El-Balshy won the Individual Activist award at the Nelson Mandela-Graca Macha Innovation Awards on Monday.
The awards, which were established in 2005 and are organised by Johannesburg-based NGO Civicus, aim to honour those who have “demonstrated remarkable courage and commitment in the pursuit of social change.”
El-Balshy, the editor-in-chief of El-Badaiah news website, was given the award for establishing the Front to Defend Journalists and Freedom in Egypt.
"[El-Balshy] has actively mentored younger journalists to defend their own rights and the rights of others," Civicus said in a statement, adding that El-Balshy "sought every available platform to shine a light on violations by the government."
In March, El-Balshy, the former head of the freedoms committee in Egypt's Journalists Syndicate, was handed a one-year suspended sentence along with then-syndicate head Yehia Kalash and board member Gamal Abdel-Rahim for harbouring fugitives inside the syndicate's headquarters.
The trio was accused in April 2016 of harbouring at the syndicate headquarters in Cairo journalists Mahmoud El-Sakka and Amr Badr, who were facing charges of spreading false news ahead of planned protests against the Egypt’s deal with Saudi Arabia to hand over two Red Sea island to the Gulf kingdom.
El-Balshy and his colleagues are currently appealing the ruling.