The Committee to Protect Journalists honors 4 international journalists (AP)

November 23rd, 2010 Print Print Email Email

NEW YORK — Reporters from Ethiopia, Iran, Russia and Venezuela will be honored for covering the news in the face of threats, harassment and arrest, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.

The press advocacy group will also present its Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement to Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Institute, at an awards dinner Tuesday night at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.

“We celebrate these journalists because they embody the struggle to report without fear of reprisal,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “In each of their countries, asking questions and exposing uncomfortable truths is a dangerous task.”

The winners of CPJ’s 2010 International Press Freedom Awards are:

-Dawit Kebede, founder of Ethiopia’s Awramba Times newspaper. He spent two years in a crowded prison for his independent reporting on Ethiopia’s 2005 election violence.

-Mohammad Davari, editor of the Iranian news website Saham News. Davari is serving a five-year prison term for “mutiny against the regime” after exposing prisoner abuse at the Kahrizak Detention Center. He is the only one among the four who will be unable to attend the awards ceremony.

-Nadira Isayeva, editor of the independent weekly Chernovik in Russia’s Dagestan republic. The state media regulator has been trying to shutter her paper for “hostile attitudes toward law enforcement officers and other extremist statements.”

-Laureano Marquez, a Venezuelan journalist, author, actor, and humorist whose satirical commentary has made him the scourge of President Hugo Chavez and other officials. The government has fined Marquez for his columns and a a recent piece in Caracas-based daily Tal Cual prompted the country’s information minister to demand that Marquez be prosecuted for assaulting the country’s democracy and plotting a coup.

Neier, who is well-known in the U.S. and international human rights communities, was a founding CPJ board member. He worked with the American Civil Liberties Union for 15 years and helped found Human Rights Watch in 1978, running the organization for a dozen years.

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