The freedom of speech award of the IPI Finnish committee is awarded this year to the Learning Together network, which relies on the volunteer work of Finnish women journalists. The Learning Together network, which relies on the volunteer work of Finnish women journalists, has organized training for more than 500 Afghan women journalists. It has improved the quality and quantity of women’s journalism in Afghanistan in a very significant way and contributed to the birth of many new media. The network has continued to support female journalists who remained in Afghanistan even after the Taliban came to power, and persistently highlighted their plight and need for help in Finland.

“We are of course delighted that the work we have been doing for a long time is appreciated, but above all we hope that with the award women journalists in Afghanistan will not be forgotten and they will receive more attention for their work”, says Eeva Koskinen, who founded the Learning Together project in 2009.

The project operated for the first nine years within the framework of the Association of Women Journalists and with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During those years, 22 Finnish women journalists trained their colleagues as volunteers in Kabul and, regardless of security risks, also in remote parts of the country. The project produced educational materials in the Dari language and trained eight female Afghan journalists as further trainers. The students founded several radio and TV channels and magazines aimed at women.

The IPI Finland group’s freedom of speech award is awarded annually to a person or entity that has extensively promoted the realization of freedom of speech and the press, as well as the operating conditions of journalists and the media, and the openness of society.