European award supports journalists who defend human rights, democracy and development.
The EU is inviting journalists from across the world to enter its Lorenzo Natali competition for freedom of speech (closing date - 30 June 2008).
Explaining the award's significance, humanitarian aid commissioner Louis Michel said "Without information, without the media, the world loses its memory of the past, its awareness of the present and the debate about the future."
The Lorenzo Natali award is an important part of EU development policy, which sees action to defend democracy and human rights as steps towards good governance, peace and progress in the developing world.
This year the prize is open to all journalistic media (radio, television, press and internet) across the world, with the winners sharing a total of €50 000 in prize money. The winners will be honoured during an award ceremony in November at the 2008 European development days event in Strasbourg.
To judge the competition, the Commission collaborates with two of the world's best-known press associations: Reporters Without Borders, and the World Association of Newspapers, which represents more than 18 000 publications over five continents.
Lorenzo Natali was a freedom fighter honoured for his bravery in the war of liberation in occupied Italy in 1944.