CPJ to honor five international journalists

International Press Freedom Awards

IPFA Awards 2008
Bilal Hussein
Danish Karokhel and
Farida Nekzad
Andrew Mwenda
Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez
Beatrice Mtetwa

New York, September 16, 2008–The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor courageous journalists from Iraq, Afghanistan, Uganda, and Cuba with its 2008 International Press Freedom Awards at a ceremony in November.

Bilal Hussein of Iraq, Danish Karokhel and Farida Nekzad of Afghanistan, Andrew Mwenda of Uganda, and Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez of Cuba have all risked imprisonment, harassment, and, above all, their lives to report the news and stand up for press freedom in their countries.

“These are the front-line reporters who risk their lives and their liberty to bring the news not only to the people of their own countries but to a global audience,” said CPJ Board Chairman Paul Steiger. “Their courage and determination have expanded the world’s knowledge in critically important ways.”

“Our award winners embody what CPJ stands for–the right of journalists everywhere to report the news as they see it,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “We honor them and stand behind them and their colleagues as they strive to keep all of us informed.”

Beatrice Mtetwa, a press and human rights lawyer in Zimbabwe, will receive CPJ’s Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in recognition of her continued efforts to ensure a free press in one of the most repressive regimes in the world.

The Burton Benjamin Memorial Award is named in honor of the late CBS News senior producer and former CPJ chairman who died in 1988. Mtetwa, a 2005 recipient of CPJ’s International Press Freedom Award, is the first person to be honored with both awards.”Mtetwa’s courageous efforts on behalf of journalists in Zimbabwe demonstrate her unflinching commitment,” CPJ’s Steiger said. “She is richly deserving of the Burton Benjamin Award, given for lifetime achievement in the cause of press freedom.”

The awards will be presented at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on Tuesday, November 25. Jeff Zucker, chief executive of NBC Universal, is chairman of the black-tie dinner. Gwen Ifill, CPJ board member and managing editor of PBS’ “Washington Week,” will be the host.

The International Press Freedom Awards, now in their 18th year, are the centerpiece in CPJ’s annual fund-raising effort, providing more than a third of the budget for our press freedom advocacy efforts around the world. To attend the awards dinner, see our online reply form.