The Tully Center for Free Speech

2009 Tully Award for Free Speech

Barry Bearak

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist

Barry Bearak

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from Johannesburg, South Africa, Barry Bearak was jailed in Zimbabwe for covering the elections without government permission. He was taken into custody during a raid on a small hotel frequented by foreign journalists in Harare and held in prison for five days before being released on bail. The raid was believed to have been part of a crackdown by the government of long-time President Robert Mugabe, who was doing poorly in the elections.

“I was being charged with the crime of ‘committing journalism,’” Bearak later wrote in his Times account of the ordeal. “One of my captors, Detective Inspector Dani Rangwani, described the offense to me as something despicable, almost hissing the words: ‘You’ve been gathering, processing and disseminating the news.’”

The charges against Bearak were dismissed after about two weeks, and he returned home to Johannesburg before authorities could re-arrest him.

Past Recipients

KAthy Gannon Tully Center for Free Speech

Kathy Gannon

Senior correspondent for The Associated Press
Lamees Dhaif Tully Center for Free Speech

Lamees Dhaif

Independent Bahraini journalist and human rights activist
Umar Cheema Tully Center For Free Speech

Umar Cheema

Journalist and investigative reporter
Lydia Cacho Tully Center for Free Speech

Lydia Cacho

Journalist, feminist and human rights activist