Polish editor and former dissident wins top Spanish prize

·1-min read
Michnik spent six years in jail for his efforts to end Poland's repressive regime (AFP/JANEK SKARZYNSKI) (JANEK SKARZYNSKI)

Polish editor Adam Michnik, a leading communist-era dissident, was Wednesday awarded Spain's prestigious Princess of Asturias communications and humanities prize.

The jury honoured the 75-year-old editor-in-chief of Warsaw-based daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza "for his commitment to quality journalism and for his influence in restoring and defending democracy in Poland".

A member of the Solidarity trade union that led the Polish struggle against communist rule since it was founded in 1980, he spent six years in jail for his efforts to end his country's repressive regime.

After Poland's communist leaders were toppled in a 1989 election, Michnik took a seat in parliament and co-founded Gazeta Wyborcza, which is now one of Eastern Europe's most popular newspapers.

The jury noted that he is an authority on Russian politics who has "closely followed" Russia's invasion of Ukraine, "being highly critical of (Russian President) Vladimir Putin's decisions and acts".

In a statement, Michnik said he saw the award as "an appreciation of the democratic opposition in Poland" as well as "an appreciation of Gazeta Wyborcza, which has learnt a lot from Spanish free media".

Previous winners of the award include US feminist icon Gloria Steinem and Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of "Super Mario Bros".

The 50,000-euro ($53,000) award is one of eight Asturias prizes handed out yearly by a foundation named for Crown Princess Leonor.

Other categories include social sciences, sport and scientific research.

The awards are presented each autumn in the northern city of Oviedo in a ceremony broadcast live on Spanish television.


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