The Tully Center for Free Speech

2013 Tully Award for Free Speech

Idrak Abbasov


Idrak Abbasov is a prominent Azerbaijani journalist, famous for his reports on government corruption. He works for several news organizations including British, Russian and Azerbaijani media.

Abbasov is a contributor to the Azerbaijani newspaper Bizim Yol; the Russian information agency Regnum; and the British Institute for War and Peace Reporting.

He has endured several challenges to his journalism. On April 18, 2012, while filming protests against the state oil company, he was attacked by what he believed were oil company security forces and the police, but the Azerbaijani president denies the allegations. The attack left him with two broken ribs, a concussion, severe damage to one eye and damage to his internal organs. His brother was also injured during the attack and his father’s home was invaded and damaged. Despite the attack, he has remained dedicated to his job, and continued to work even as he was recovering from his injuries.

Abbasov has received several awards for his work, including a 2012 Index on Censorship Guardian Journalism Award. His case drew the attention of the European Parliament, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, all of whom have urged the Azerbaijani government to stop suppressing human rights.

Read coverage of Abbasov’s visit to campus from The NewsHouse.

Watch video of his talk and the award ceremony on the Newhouse School’s YouTube channel. 

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