The Tully Center for Free Speech

2015 Award

Kathy Gannon

Kathy Gannon, a senior correspondent for the Associated Press, is the recipient of the 2015 Tully Award for Free Speech. The award, presented annually by the Tully Center for Free Speech in the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, is given to a journalist who has faced a significant free speech threat.

The award ceremony was held on Monday, March 7, in the Joyce Hergenhan Auditorium in Newhouse 3. Gannon discussed her work as a journalist with the AP and answered audience questions.

Kathy Gannon serves as senior correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan for The Associated Press.

She has covered the region for the AP as a correspondent and bureau chief since 1988, a period that spans the withdrawal of Russian soldiers from Afghanistan, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, the bitter Afghan civil war between Islamic factions and the rise and fall of the Taliban. Gannon was the only Western journalist allowed in Kabul by the Taliban in the weeks preceding the 2001 U.S.-British offensive in Afghanistan.

In addition to her coverage of South Central Asia, she has covered the Middle East, including the 2006 Israeli war against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and war in northern Iraq.

In April 2014 Gannon was seriously wounded while covering preparations for Afghan national elections when an Afghan police officer opened fire on the car in which she was riding. Her colleague and close friend, AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus, was killed in the attack.

A native of Timmins, Ontario, she was the city editor at the Kelowna Courier in British Columbia and worked at several Canadian newspapers before her career took her overseas. She has lived in Israel, Japan, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

She has received two honorary doctorates from Northern Canada universities and is the recipient of numerous awards, including:

  • International Women’s Media Foundation Courage In Journalism Award
  • Overseas Press Club Award for best newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad
  • Committee to protect Journalists Burton Benjamin Memorial Award
  • John Peter and Anna Catherine Zenger Freedom of the Press Award from the University of Arizona School of Journalism
  • Grady College McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage from the University of Georgia
  • James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications
  • Canadian Journalists for Free Expression Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award
  • Edward R. Murrow Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • National Newspaper Awards Governors’ Award
  • AP Oliver S. Gramling Award in Journalism

In 2005 Gannon authored “I is for Infidel: From Holy War, to Holy Terror, 18 Years Inside Afghanistan,” an examination of the Taliban and post-Taliban period, published by PublicAffairs.

Gannon is married to respected Pakistani architect Naeem Pasha, and has a stepdaughter, Kyla Pasha. She is the youngest of six children. Her brothers Brian and Lorne were also journalists, her brothers Robert and Terry were prominent in their fields and her sister, Patricia Ann, was a nurse in Canada’s north for 40 years.

Click here to view a video of the award ceremony.