International Press Freedom Awards

Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez, Founder and contributer, Grupo de Trabajo Decoro

Imprisoned since March 2003


Maseda Gutiérrez, 65, is the oldest of 21 journalists behind bars in Cuba. Arrested in the government's March 2003 crackdown on the independent press, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison for acting against "the territorial integrity of the state."

Maseda Gutiérrez, an engineer with a degree in nuclear physics, was demoted from a high-level government job in 1992 because of his political views. He began working as an independent journalist in 1995. Four years later, working with veteran journalist and 2003 CPJ awardee Manuel Vázquez Portal, he helped found the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro.

Maseda Gutiérrez wrote about social, economic, environmental, and historical issues that were ignored by the official Cuban press. His articles appeared in independent Cuban media based abroad, such as the newsmagazine Encuentro de la Cultura Cubana and the news Web sites Encuentro en la Red and CubaNet. Before being jailed, he worked on a series of articles exposing brutality in Cuban prisons.

While in prison himself, Maseda Gutiérrez managed to write a memoir, Enterrados Vivos (Buried Alive). The book was smuggled out of prison, one page at a time, and published in the United States in 2007.

Click here to view Hector's video from the 2008 IPFA dinner.

Here are some background links:

Cubanet (Spanish)

Before Héctor Maseda's arrest, he wrote for Cubanet.  The site contains information on Maseda, letters and stories he has written from jail, and stories written about him on foreign-based Cuba news websites.  The site contains an online copy of his memoir, Enterrados Vivos (Buried Alive) that he smuggled out of prison.

Cuba Encuentro (Spanish)

In March 2008, Héctor Maseda's book was sent to Fidel Castro.  It was delivered by his wife, Laura Pollán.


From an awardee, behind bars

From his cell in the maximum security Agüica Prison in western Matanzas province, imprisoned Cuban journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez has written us a letter to accept CPJ's International Press Freedom Award. In his letter, Maseda Gutiérrez speaks out "for all those who suffer the horror that characterizes despotic and oligarchic government models."   


Letters from prison

2005 letter written from prison (Spanish)

2005 letter written from prison (Spanish)

2015
Cándido Figueredo Ruíz (Paraguay), Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (Syria), Zone 9 Bloggers (Ethiopia), Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque,“Zunar” (Malaysia)

2014
Aung Zaw (Burma), Siamak Ghaderi (Iran), Mikhail Zygar (Russia), Ferial Haffajee (South Africa)

2013
Janet Hinostroza (Ecuador), Bassem Youssef (Egypt), Nedim Şener (Turkey), Nguyen Van Hai (Vietnam)

2012
Mauri König (Brazil), Dhondup Wangchen (China), Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan), Mae Azango (Liberia)

2011
Mansoor al-Jamri (Bahrain), Natalya Radina (Belarus), Javier Valdez Cárdenas (Mexico), Umar Cheema (Pakistan)

2010
Mohammad Davari (Iran), Nadira Isayeva (Russia), Dawit Kebede (Ethiopia), Laureano Márquez (Venezuela)

2009
Mustafa Haji Abdinur (Somalia), Naziha Réjiba (Tunisia), Eynulla Fatullayev (Azerbijan), J.S. Tissainayagam (Sri Lanka)

2008
Bilal Hussein (Iraq), Danish Karokhel and Farida Nekzad (Afghanistan), Andrew Mwenda (Uganda), Hector Maseda Gutiérrez (Cuba)

2007
Dmitry Muratov (Russia), Mazhar Abbas (Pakistan), Adela Navarro Bello (Mexico), Gao Qinrong (China)

2006
Jesús Abad Colorado (Colombia), Jamal Amer (Yemen), Madi Ceesay (The Gambia), Atwar Bahjat (Iraq)

2005
Galima Bukharbaeva (Uzbekistan), Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe), Lúcio Flávio Pinto (Brazil), Shi Tao (China)

2004
Svetlana Kalinkina (Belarus), Aung Pwint and Thaung Tun (Burma), Alexis Sinduhije (Burundi), Paul Klebnikov (United States)

2003
Abdul Samay Hamed (Afghanistan), Aboubakr Jamai (Morocco), Musa Muradov (Russia), Manuel Vázquez Portal (Cuba)

2002
Ignacio Gómez (Colombia), Tipu Sultan (Bangladesh), Irina Petrushova (Kazakhstan), Fesshaye Yohannes (Eritrea)

2001
Jiang Weiping (China), Geoff Nyarota (Zimbabwe), Horacio Verbitsky (Argentina), Mazen Dana (West Bank)

2000
Zeljko Kopanja (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Modeste Mutinga (DRC), Steven Gan (Malaysia), Mashallah Shamsolvaezin (Iran)

1999
Jesús Joel Díaz Hernández (Cuba), Baton Haxhiu (Kosovo), Jugnu Mohsin and Najam Sethi (Pakistan), María Cristina Caballero (Columbia)

1998
Grémah Boucar (Niger), Gustavo Gorriti (Panama), Pavel Sheremet (Belarus), Ruth Simon (Eritrea)

1997
Viktor Ivancic (Croatia), Freedom Neruda (Ivory Coast), Christine Anyanwu (Nigeria). Ying Chan (United States) and Shieh Chung-Liang (Taiwan)

1996
Ocak Isik Yurtçu (Turkey), Daoud Kuttab (Palestinian Authority), J. Jesus Blancornelas (Mexico), Yusuf Jameel (India)