Egyptian Journalists Syndicate awards Wael Al-Dahdouh freedom of press award

Ahram Online , Wednesday 10 Jul 2024

Veteran Palestinian journalist Wael Al-Dahdouh, whose family was tragically targeted in Gaza as a result of his reporting on the current Israeli war, has received the Egyptian Syndicate of Journalists’ Freedom of Press Award.

Al Jazeera journalist Wael Al-Dahdouh in Rafah, Gaza. AFP


Head of the Syndicate of Journalists Khaled El-Balshy announced the presentation of the award to Al-Dahdouh during a ceremony held on Tuesday to honor recipients of the syndicate's press awards.

El-Balshy highlighted in a speech that Al-Dahdouh had decided to forego the monetary value of the prize to support the treatment of injured Palestinian journalists receiving medical care in Egypt.

Al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera's Gaza bureau chief, has emerged as a symbol of resilience in the face of the ongoing Israeli war in Gaza, continuing to report on the Israeli aggression while experiencing the loss of several family members.

In January, Al-Dahdouh left Gaza for Egypt through the Rafah border crossing and subsequently traveled to Qatar for medical treatment.

The Egyptian syndicate nominated him for the 2024 Freedom of Press Award last January as a tribute to his bravery and to honor all Palestinian journalists who put their lives at risk in pursuit of truth.

Al Jazeera s bureau chief in Gaza, Wael Al-Dahdouh (C) stands with his daughter by the body of his son, Hamza Wael Dahdouh, a journalist Al Jazeera, who was killed in an air strike in Gaza on 7 January 2024. AFP

Speaking in a recorded message displayed during the syndicate's event, Al-Dahdouh expressed his gratitude for the award, considering it a recognition of the dedication and sacrifice of male and female journalists in Gaza and Palestine as a whole.

He emphasized the recent tragic loss of a fellow journalist in Rafah, southern Gaza, due to Israeli targeting, and lamented the more than 155 journalists who have lost their lives in Gaza during the ongoing war.

Nasser Abu Baker, the President of the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), received the award on behalf of Al-Dahdouh.

The ceremony, held under the auspices of the Cabinet and United Media Services (UMS), recognized numerous journalists for their exceptional work in various social, political, and economic domains.

El-Balshy noted that the award's value had increased to EGP 50,000, thanks to UMS sponsorship, up from the previous amount of EGP 15,000.

Wael Al-Dahdouh mourns over the body of his seven-year-old daughter. AFP

Dahdouh's tragedy

Throughout the ongoing war, Al-Dahdouh has endured profound personal loss with heart-wrenching footage that shows him tenderly touching the faces of his departed family members with tears streaming down his face.

In January, his 27-year-old son Hamza, also a journalist at Al Jazeera, tragically lost his life in an Israeli airstrike.

Earlier, during a raid on the Nuseirat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip in October, the Israeli forces targeted the house where Al-Dahdouh's family was staying, resulting in the devastating loss of his 44-year-old wife, 15-year-old son Mahmoud, seven-year-old daughter Sham, and toddler grandson Adam.

In mid-December, Al-Dahdouh himself sustained injuries as he miraculously survived an Israeli drone strike that claimed the life of 45-year-old Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa.

Dozens of journalists took part in a funeral for Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abu Daqqa. AFP

The two colleagues were reporting on an Israeli airstrike in a school being used as a shelter in southern Gaza.

Abu Daqqa, initially wounded, was denied prompt medical treatment for over five hours, as Israeli forces prevented ambulances and rescue workers from reaching him.

Throughout nine months, Israel’s devastating war has killed and injured over 126,000 people, destroyed infrastructure, displaced most residents, and pushed the strip to the brink of famine.

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