The Tully Award is given annually to a journalist who has shown courage in facing a free speech threat. Nominees are identified by an international panel of journalists and lawyers, and winners are chosen by a group of faculty and students.
The awardee visits campus to attend the award program, accept the $2,500 award and meet with students.
The Tully Center for Free Speech honored Russian journalist Igor Rudnikov with the 2020 Free Speech Award on March 4, 2021.
Rudnikov is the owner and editor of Novye Kolyosa, an independent newspaper in the western Russian city of Kaliningrad. Rudnikov’s story is almost unbelievable. He has been repeatedly arrested and government authorities have spent years trying to shut down his newspaper. He was severely beaten and injured by police.
As it stands, he has to print the paper in Moscow and transport it to his city because no local printer will work with him. He also sold his apartment in order to keep his paper running. In 2016, assassins stabbed him five times outside a restaurant, nearly killing him. He was saved because an ambulance happened to be nearby. His attempted killers had government ties. Rudnikov has also spent 592 days in jail on trumped up charges.
Rudnikov emerged from a slate of journalists from around the world who had been nominated by a group of international press advocates. A panel of Newhouse faculty, staff and students made the final choice.
This year’s panel of experts included:
The Newhouse panel included: Aileen Gallagher, Joel Kaplan, Audrey Burian, Sierra Holland, Kieran Taylor and Roy Gutterman