TDF, which will soon celebrate its 17th anniversary, thoroughly debated which newspapers should be honored with the prestigious award. Two boards gathered under the auspices of Prof. Ergun Ozbudun paid close attention to the newspaper publishing industry during the years 2002 and 2003. They decided to grant the award to Zaman and Radikal because of their uncompromising reports on human rights issues.
Turkish Language Association (TDK) President Emere Kocaoglu drew attention to their detailed study. Kocaoglu emphasized that the result is objective because the boards scanned all major newspapers. "This media award is very important," said Kocaoglu.
Zaman Daily Executive Editor-in-Chief Ekrem Dumanli emphasized that it is the duty of newspapers to be protectors of human rights, freedom of speech and of democracy. Dumanli said: "Newspapers should have as their goals to reflect of a diversity of opinions and to be a free platform. How far a newspaper can aid progress in democracy depends upon how much emphasis the newspaper places on pluralism. Therefore, this award is very meaningful for me. It has a meaning that overlaps with Zaman Daily's mission, our vision, the goal of our existence, and what we want to achieve."
Another notable winner on the night was Speaker of the Turkish Parliament Bulent Arinc, who was granted the Grand Democracy Award. Arinc mentioned the importance of the Parliament in his speech at the ceremony. Indicating that the parliament's prestige has been increasing recently, Arinc indicated that the parliament's prestige has been increasing recently and said that the assembly is needed for to make progress in democracy.