CPJ honors courageous journalists at 2022 awards ceremony
On Thursday, November 17, CPJ honored courageous journalists from Cuba, Iraqi Kurdistan, Ukraine, and Vietnam at its 32nd annual International Press Freedom Awards ceremony. CPJ also honored Russian editor Galina Timchenko with the 2022 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.
This year’s awards ceremony was hosted by ABC News President Kim Godwin. The event was chaired by Shari Redstone, who leads Paramount Global. Redstone commended the awardees’ “commitment to shining a light on the actions of those in power, an unyielding adherence to the truth, and an unshakable sense of ethics and integrity.” The event raised over $2 million, which will go toward supporting CPJ’s work to protect press freedom globally at a time of record numbers of journalists imprisoned, persistent impunity in their killings, and waves of journalists forced into exile.
The 2022 awardees in attendance included Cuban journalist Abraham Jiménez Enoa, and the Ukrainian editor-in-chief of Ukrainska Pravda, Sevgil Musaieva. CPJ also honored jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang and exiled Iraqi Kurdish journalist Niyaz Abdullah, who was unable to travel to the United States.
Musaieva spoke powerfully of the experience of maintaining a newsroom—and with it, truth and hope—in her embattled homeland of Ukraine while mourning friends and colleagues like Brent Renaud and Maksim Levin, both killed while documenting the early stages of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Sharing a memory from her diary of bringing clothes to the morgue for Renaud, she declared, “Truth survives when there is someone to fight for it.”
Jiménez, who was handcuffed and interrogated for five hours over his writings about life in Cuba in The Washington Post, spoke passionately about his experiences as a Cuban journalist. “Like many other colleagues, I have had to go into exile and leave my country in order to protect myself,” Jiménez said. “Nevertheless, my colleagues and I, who have been forced to abandon our homeland, have not stopped, nor will we stop continuing to denounce what is happening in my country, Cuba.”
Journalist and writer Masha Gessen presented the Gwen Ifill Award honoring Russian journalist Galina Timchenko for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. Timchenko, who helped to found and now runs the popular Russian news site Meduza from exile in Riga, Latvia, vowed to “reach out to millions of Russian readers who need the truth now more than ever,” and “provide independent objective information to our readers and not to leave them alone at the darkest hour.”
You can rewatch the 2022 awards ceremony here:
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CPJ published its 2022 Global Impunity Index, highlighting where the vast majority of killers of journalists continue to get away with murder. Somalia remains the worst offender on the index for the eighth straight year. Syria, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Iraq, respectively, round out the top five countries on the index. As Nobel Prize laureate and Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov said in September, “In Russia, the genocide of media has come to its conclusion. Russian citizens are left alone in the face of government propaganda.”
CPJ has called on Pike County, Ohio, authorities to drop all charges against journalist Derek Myers and return equipment seized from Myers and his newsroom, Scioto Valley Guardian. While newsgathering and journalistic source material are protected by Ohio’s shield law and the federal Privacy Protection Act, Pike County sheriff’s officials confiscated equipment and charged Myers with wiretapping. “The incompetency of local law enforcement to abide by basic legal proceedings would be comical if it were not so concerning,” said CPJ U.S. and Canada Program Coordinator Katherine Jacobsen.
In a recent letter, CPJ joined more than 60 civil society organizations to call for Egyptian authorities to immediately release British-Egyptian blogger and activist Alaa Abdelfattah amid an escalated hunger and water strike Abdelfattah waged coinciding with the beginning of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. “I’ve taken a decision to escalate at a time I see as fitting for my struggle for my freedom,” Abdelfattah wrote, “and the freedom of prisoners of a conflict they’ve no part in.”
CPJ in the news
“The US must fight for press freedom: even against its closest allies,” The Hill
“Cops: ‘Hood CNN’ reporter’s murder solved but no prosecution,” The Associated Press
“Iran Arrests Reporter Who Interviewed Mahsa Amini’s Father: Rights Group,” Agence France-Presse
“Iraqi Kurdish journalist wins International Press Freedom Awards,” Arab News
“Buhari committed to ending violence against journalists – Malami,” The Sun Nigeria
“Almost 40 cases of violence against journalists reported after the elections,” The Brazilian Report
“Vietnam Using Jail to ‘Silence’ Human Rights Journalist, Lawyer Says,” VOA
“After six-month detention over ‘offensive’ publication on Ogun Governor, journalist regains freedom,” Per Second News
“‘The reality is miserable’: Egypt’s exiled journalists watch COP27 from afar,” The New Arab
“US to open investigation into Shireen Abu Akleh killing: Reports,” Al-Jazeera