2015 International Press Freedom Awards

International Press Freedom Awards

CPJ International Press Freedom Awards 2015

CPJ's annual International Press Freedom Awards and benefit dinner honored courageous journalists from around the world on November 24, 2015, in New York City.

(Courtesy of CNN)

Profile videos and speeches by the 2015 awardees are available:

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently: video profile and speech
Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque ("Zunar"): video profile and speech
Zone 9 bloggers: video profile and speech
Cándido Figueredo Ruíz: video profile and speech
Burton Benjamin Memorial Award winner Kathy Gannon: speech

IPFA Honorees

(Courtesy Luz Patricia Bellenzier)

Cándido Figueredo Ruíz - Paraguay

Cándido Figueredo Ruíz, a Paraguayan journalist who faces death threats and has lived under 24-hour police protection for the past two decades because of his reporting on drug smuggling on the Brazil-Paraguay border.

At least 3 journalists were killed in #Paraguay in 2014, the first time since 2007 that @pressfreedom confirmed a media-related death. #IPFA

Raqqa Logo

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently - Syria

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a Syrian citizen journalist collective and one of the few independent news sources that continues to report from inside the Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital.

85 journalists have been killed in #Syria since 1992 & since 2011 it has been the most dangerous country in the world for journalists. #IPFA

(Endalkachew H/Michael)

Zone 9 Bloggers - Ethiopia

Zone 9 bloggers of Ethiopia, a group of bloggers of which six were arrested, imprisoned, and charged with terrorism in retaliation for critical reporting.

Prime Minister Desalegn & @DrTedros: Drop all charges & release the Zone 9 bloggers, facing trial again Oct 8. #FreeZone9Bloggers #IPFA


Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque ("Zunar") - Malaysia

Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, "Zunar," of Malaysia, CPJ's first cartoonist awardee, who is charged with sedition and faces a potential 43-year jail term for drawings lampooning high-level abuse in the Malaysian government.

Prime Minister Najib Razak: Drop all charges against cartoonist @zunarkartunis, facing a possible 43 year prison sentence. #IPFA

Burton Benjamin Award Winner

The Burton Benjamin Memorial Award is given for a lifetime of distinguished achievement in the cause of press freedom.


Kathy Gannon

The Associated Press's special regional correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Kathy Gannon, will receive the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in the cause of press freedom. Gannon has covered the region for the AP as a correspondent and bureau chief since 1988. In 2001, Gannon was the only Western journalist allowed by the Taliban to return to Kabul during the U.S.-led coalition's assault on Afghanistan. In 2005, Gannon authored I is for Infidel: From Holy War to Holy Terror, an examination of the Taliban and post-Taliban period, published by Public Affairs.

The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor journalists from Ethiopia, Malaysia, Paraguay, and Syria with the 2015 International Press Freedom Awards. The journalists have endured death threats, physical attacks, legal action, imprisonment, or exile in the course of their work.

The 2015 awardees are the Zone 9 bloggers of Ethiopia; Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, "Zunar," of Malaysia; Cándido Figueredo Ruíz, a Paraguayan journalist; and Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, a Syrian citizen journalist collective.

"In a very dangerous period for journalists, these awardees have braved threats from repressive governments, drug cartels, and Islamic State," said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "Whether through blogs or traditional media outlets, or by drawing cartoons, they risk their personal safety and freedom to bring us the news."

The Associated Press's special regional correspondent for Pakistan and Afghanistan, Kathy Gannon, will receive the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in the cause of press freedom.

"Kathy Gannon has reported in South Central Asia for 18 years, through periods of extensive political turmoil and conflict," said Sandra Mims Rowe, chairman of CPJ's board of directors. "Her commitment to journalism has transcended personal risk and tragedy, including the loss of her colleague Anja Niedringhaus. Gannon is widely known as one of the most thoughtful and dedicated journalists covering the region."

All of the winners will be honored at CPJ's annual award and benefit dinner in New York City on November 24, 2015. David Muir, anchor of ABC World News Tonight, will host the event. Steven R. Swartz, president and chief executive officer of Hearst, is the dinner chairman.

Media contact
Samantha Libby, Communications Associate
[email protected]
Tel: +1 212-300-9032

Ashley Parent
Communications Associate
[email protected]

Cándido Figueredo Ruíz, Paraguay

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, Syria

Zone 9 Bloggers, Ethiopia

Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque ("Zunar"), Malaysia

Kathy Gannon


Patrícia Campos Mello (Brazil), Neha Dixit (India), Lucía Pineda Ubau and Miguel Mora (Nicaragua), Maxence Melo Mubyazi (Tanzania)


Amal Khalifa Idris Habbani (Sudan), Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh (Vietnam), Luz Mely Reyes (Venezuela), Anastasiya Stanko (Ukraine)


Ahmed Abba (Cameroon), Patricia Mayorga (Mexico), Afrah Nasser (Yemen), Pravit Rojanaphruk (Thailand)


Mahmoud Abou Zeid, Shawkan (Egypt), Malini Subramaniam (India), Can Dündar (Turkey), Óscar Martínez (El Salvador)


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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