International Press Freedom Awards

Beatrice Mtetwa, Media and Human Rights Lawyer, Zimbabwe

Burton Benjamin Award


Beatrice Mtetwa is a prominent media and human rights lawyer and a 2005 recipient of CPJ's International Press Freedom Award. Throughout the decade, Mtetwa has defended numerous journalists against spurious charges brought by President Robert Mugabe's government. She represented many of the journalists arrested during a massive crackdown on the press in the run-up to the 2008 presidential election. Among her court victories was the successful defense of New York Times reporter Barry Bearak and British freelance journalist Steven Bevan, both of whom were arrested under an obsolete press accreditation law.

Mtetwa has defended journalists in a number of high-profile cases throughout her career. Her clients have included Mercedes Sayagues of South Africa's Mail and Guardian, Andrew Meldrum of The Guardian of London, Angus Shaw of The Associated Press, Jan Raath of The Times of London, and Brian Latham of Bloomberg. Mtetwa also worked on behalf of the Daily News, Zimbabwe's sole independent daily before it was shuttered in September 2003.

Mtetwa has faced repeated reprisals. In May 2007, police beat Mtetwa and three colleagues with rubber clubs. "I am all right but angry," she told one radio interviewer before resuming work. In 2003, she endured similar abuse after she was arrested on specious allegations of drunken driving. Mtetwa was taken to a police station, where she was held for three hours, beaten and choked before being released without charge.  Here are some background links:

    

In Zimbabwe Jail: A Reporter's Ordeal  

Barry Bearak, a journalist for The New York Times, recounts his terrifying ordeal in a Zimbabwe prison.  Charged with the crime of "committing journalism," Bearak writes how Beatrice Mtetwa secured his release.

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 (Krygyzstan), 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)