18 April 2006
On the recommendation of an international jury of media professionals, UNESCO Director-General Koichiro Matsuura 29 March 2006 designated Lebanese journalist May Chidiac, winner of the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2006.May Chidiac is a popular television presenter, whose news bulletins and Sunday programmes - Naharkoum Saïd and Bonjour – on LBC (Lebanese Broadcasting Corp.) are among the most widely followed in Lebanon. Ms Chidiac’s popularity owes as much to her professionalism as to her direct and open approach in a country traumatized by years of war.
The victim of a car bomb attack on 25 September 2005, Ms Chidiac had one of her hands and her left leg amputated. The tragedy shook Lebanese opinion, which came to see the journalist as a symbol of freedom of expression. The attack against her closely resembled the fatal attack on Samir Kassir, a journalist from the daily An Nahar, five months earlier. Another similar attack in December 2005 targeted the editor of An-Nahar, Gebran Tueni. May Chidiac was proposed as a candidate for prize by the Lebanese minister for culture.