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Presentation of the First Ari Rath Prize for Critical Journalism

Published: April 23, 2018; 14:55 · (Vindobona)

Journalist Alexandra Föderl-Schmid will be awarded the First Ari-Rath Prize for Critical Journalism on 3 May 2018, the Day of Freedom of the Press. This prize was established to honour journalists who have rendered outstanding services to critical reporting on immigration, expulsion and asylum, committed to respect for human rights, in the spirit of the former editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, who died in January 2017.

Alexandra Föderl-Schmid has helped shape the daily newspaper "Der Standard" for almost three decades. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Franz Johann Morgenbesser from Vienna, Austria; cropped by Rosso Robot (IMG_8094) [CC BY-SA 2.0]

Ari Rath, Israeli journalist, publicist and peace activist, was born in Vienna in 1925 and had to emigrate in November 1938. He was a founding member of the Kibbutz Chamadiya in Palestine. From 1958 he worked as an editor, from 1975 as editor-in-chief and publisher of the Jerusalem Post. In 2005 he received the German Federal Cross of Merit and in 2011 the Grand Decoration of Honour of the Republic of Austria. Rath died in Vienna in 2017.

Alexandra Föderl-Schmid, born in 1971, has been with the Süddeutsche Zeitung since November 2017 and reports on Israel and the Palestinian Territories. Prior to that, she was editor-in-chief and co-publisher of Der Standard. Föderl-Schmid was awarded the Kurt Vorhofer Prize and the Constitutional Prize.  She was instrumental in the re-establishment of the Austrian Press Council (Österreichischer Presserat).

A jury of experts chaired by Gertraud Auer Borea d'Olmo, Secretary General of the Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue and close confidant of Ari Rath, in cooperation with the Kreisky Forum, honors the unanimously elected Alexandra Föderl-Schmid as first prize winner.

The award will be presented on 3 May 2018 at Radio Kulturhaus in cooperation with ORF III. Former Austrian Chancellor Dr. Franz Vranitzky will give the laudation for the prizewinner.

About Alexandra Föderl-Schmid

She has helped shape the daily newspaper "Der Standard" for almost three decades, becoming the first woman in Austria to become editor-in-chief in 2007 and co-editor in 2012.

Since November 1, 2017, she has been working as a correspondent in Israel for the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Since the beginning of her professional journalistic work in 1990 - first in Linz, then in Berlin and Brussels, respectively - Föderl-Schmid has always worked vigorously to defend human rights in the migration and asylum debate, which has been fiercely political since 1990, and has tried to implement precisely the humanistic ideal that Ari Rath has upheld day after day throughout his life.

It was no coincidence that she has often met him in recent years to seek his advice in the turbulent present. In this sense, there is a close personal connection to the person who gave the award its name.

The fact that she is reporting from Israel today presents the prizewinner with new challenges, which also have to do with the life story of Ari Rath, who is committed to a peaceful and permanent solution to the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

About Ari Rath

The committed and successful journalist Ari Rath was evicted by force on November 2, 1938 at the age of 13 after the Nazi takeover and found a new home in Palestine and later in the state of Israel.

He belonged to the generation of well-known politicians Jizchak Rabin, Teddy Kollek and Shimon Peres and was advisor to Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister from 1948.

In recent years Ari Rath has largely lived in Vienna and acted as a critical advocate for democratic and peaceful cooperation between the people of Israel and Austria.

As a contemporary witness of National Socialist terror, he repeatedly pleaded for the absolute rejection of racism and xenophobia, which he has conveyed as a message beyond Anti-Semitism in many lectures and discussions with students.