Deeyah Khan awarded the Fritt Ord Prize for 2020

The Norwegian-Pakistani film director Deeyah Khan was awarded the Fritt Ord Prize for 2020 at the Oslo Opera on Tuesday 23 November. The award ceremony for Deeyah Khan was supposed to take place on Sunday 13 December 2020 but had to be postponed until today due to the pandemic.

She was born in Oslo, Norway, as the daughter of immigrant parents. Her father is from Pakistan; in Norway, he had a succession of jobs before eventually finding work as a waiter in a five-star hotel in the city.

Her mother is Afghan and worked as a teacher and then a translator. When Deeyah was seven years old, her father sat her down for a conversation that would change the course of her life.

The only way to be accepted by white people, he said, was to become famous. And the only way to do that was to excel at sports or music. “He didn’t know anything about sports, so it had to be music,” Deeyah recalls.

Deeyah is an outspoken activist for human rights, freedom of expression, peace, and equality. Deeyah actively addresses women’s rights. Deeyah has written opinion pieces for publications including The Guardian, Huffington Post, The Mirror, The Times, ITV, and VG. Khan is a strong critic of far-right politics and campaigns extensively against racism and anti-immigration policies.

Nationality Norwegian
Name Deeyah Khan
Years active 1992–present
Siblings Adil Khan
Known for Banaz a Love Story

2013: Iranian Woman (compilation album featuring Iranian female artists)
2013: Echoes Of Indus CD featuring Pakistani sitarist Ashraf Sharif Khan Poonchwala
2012: Nordic Woman (compilation album featuring female artists of traditional Nordic music forms from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. The first release from Deeyah’s WOMAN music album series. Produced by Deeyah.)
2010: Listen To The Banned (compilation album featuring banned, persecuted, and imprisoned artists from Africa, The Middle East, and Asia. As well as receiving critical acclaim the album peaked at number 6 on the World Music Charts Europe and spent months on these charts. Amnesty International in the UK is supporting Listen To The Banned by making the album available through their website end of 2010.
2007: Ataraxis(Album)
2005: Plan of My Own / “I Saw You” 2005 – UK #37
1996: Deepika (Album)
1995: Color Of My Dreams (Single)
1995: History (Single)
1995: Get Off My Back (Single)
1992: I alt slags lys (Album).

Deeyah made her directorial debut with the documentary Banaz A Love Story. The film received its UK premiere at the Raindance Film Festival in London in September 2012. This was Deeyah’s first film as a director and producer. It has won critical acclaim and international awards, including the 2013 Emmy award for best international documentary film. The film is being used to train British police.

Awards, nominations, honors
2016: Deeyah Khan appointed Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO for artistic freedom and creativity. She is not just the first-ever Norwegian who has been appointed as a goodwill ambassador for UNESCO, but also the first-ever goodwill ambassador for artistic freedom and creativity.
2016: Deeyah Khan received Telenor Culture Award for her artistic achievements which touch on some of the most important themes of our own times, like women`s rights, freedom of expression, and its fundamental values.
2016: Deeyah Khan received Peer Gynt Prize which is given to individuals or institutions who have highlighted Norway internationally.
2016: Deeyah Khan was Awarded the Gunnar Sønstebys Memorial Fund, which was established in 2015, in the memory of Gunnar Sønsteby. The purpose of this award is to honor those individuals or organizations who have emerged as a courageous defenders of the fundamental values of democracy and helped to ensure the country’s freedom and independence.

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