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White House Correspondents win DW Freedom of Speech Award

The journalists of the White House Correspondents' Association have been awarded DW's 2017 Freedom of Speech Award. DW said the WHCA had established a new benchmark in holding US leadership accountable.

Watch video 01:07

White House Correspondents win DW's Freedom of Speech Award

Deutsche Welle announced the award Wednesday, saying the White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) had maintained high standards in its reporting, despite facing allegations of "fake news" by the US president himself.

"The White House Correspondents' Association is a guarantor for the control of those in power," DW Director General Peter Limbourg said. "We have complete trust in the democracy in the United States of America. This entails that we are reliant on a strong media." 

GMF 2015 Closing ceremony (DW/M. Müller)

DW Director General Peter Limbourg

Limbourg added that attacks on journalists' credibility by US President Donald Trump posed a new challenge for the media in a country which holds democratic principles in high regard.

Read more: More respect in the media for people who think differently

WHCA President Jeff Mason said he was deeply humbled and honored to receive the prize, saying his association "fights every day for the rights of reporters to cover leaders who make policies that affect the entire world."

"Press freedom in the United States is not a given, despite the protection provided by the constitution. We must remain vigilant to ensure that those freedoms persist, regardless of who holds power in Washington."

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The press and the president

Read more: White House Correspondents' Dinner stresses press freedoms in Trump era

Deutsche Welle, Germany's international broadcaster, launched the Freedom of Speech Award two years ago, to honor individuals or initiatives that promote freedom of expression and human rights in an exceptional way.

Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi received the award in 2015. Last year, the prize went to Sedat Ergin, then editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily "Hurriyet," one of the few papers critical of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Read more: Ensaf Haidar's appeal to the Saudi government

The award ceremony will take place at Deutsche Welle's Global Media Forum in Bonn on June 19. The international conference convenes some 2,000 politicians, journalists and representatives of civic platforms from 100 countries to discuss initiatives supporting democratic change and strengthening the role of the media.

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