Journalists Honored With Press Freedom Awards

Above: Dawit Kebede, Editor of Awramba Times newspaper in
Ethiopia, was honored with CPJ’s 2010 press freedom award.

Tadias Magazine
Events News

Updated: Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New York (Tadias) – The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based advocacy group that monitors the well-being of media professionals around the world, held its 20th Annual Awards Dinner on Tuesday, November 23rd in New York City. The event recognized four journalists: Dawit Kebede of Ethiopia, Nadira Isayeva of Russia, Laureano Márquez of Venezuela, and Mohammad Davari of Iran, who are recipients of the 2010 International Press Freedom Award.

The awards dinner, which raised a record of nearly $1.5 million for CPJ’s work, was chaired by Sir Howard Stringer, chairman and president of Sony Corporation, and hosted by former “NBC Nightly News” anchor Tom Brokaw, replacing current NBC anchor Brian Williams, who was originally scheduled to host the evening.

According to CPJ, Dawit Kebede, who is the Founder and Managing Editor of Awramba Times, was one of the first journalists to be jailed following Ethiopia’s 2005 disputed national elections, which also resulted in the unfortunate crackdown on press freedom. “Kebede, 30, was among the last to be released under a presidential pardon nearly two years later,” CPJ notes on its web site. “Unlike many of his colleagues who went into exile, Kebede chose to stay in Ethiopia after he walked free from Addis Ababa’s Kality Prison.”

“Here are three things people should know about me,” Kebede says. “First, it is impossible for me to live without the life I have as a journalist. Second, unless it becomes a question of life and death, I will never be leaving Ethiopia. Third, I am not an opposition. As a journalist, whatsoever would be a governing regime in Ethiopia, I will never hesitate from writing issues criticizing it for the betterment of the nation.””

The organization also presented a 2009 International Press Freedom Award to J.S. Tissainayagam of Sri Lanka, who was jailed and could not accept the honor in person last year.

Click here for Tadias TV’s coverage of the event.

Here are biographies of the awardees courtsey of CPJ:

Mohammad Davari, Iran

RAHANADavari, 36, editor-in-chief of the news website Saham News, exposed horrific abuse at the Kahrizak Detention Center, videotaping statements from detainees who said they had been raped, abused, and tortured. The center was closed in July 2009 amid public uproar, but by September of that year the coverage had landed Davari in Evin Prison. Read more.

Nadira Isayeva, Russia

Isayeva, 31, editor-in-chief of the independent weekly Chernovik (Rough Draft) in the southern republic of Dagestan, has incurred the wrath of security services in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus for her relentless reporting on their handling of violence and militant Islam in the region. In 2008, authorities brought a criminal case against her under anti-extremist legislation after she published an interview with a former guerrilla leader, who accused local authorities of corruption and of being in thrall to the Kremlin. Read more.

Dawit Kebede, Ethiopia

Kebede, 30, was one of the first journalists to be jailed for independent reporting on Ethiopia’s 2005 election violence. The government rebuffed Kebede’s attempts to get a publishing license after his release but relented in the face of public pressure. Kebede launched the Awramba Times in 2008, and today it is the country’s only Amharic-language newspaper that dares question authorities. Read more.

Laureano Márquez, Venezuela

If there were an Algonquin Round Table in Caracas, Laureano Márquez would have a seat. Journalist, author, actor, and humorist, Márquez has found rich fodder in Venezuela’s idiosyncratic political landscape. He is the scourge of left-wing President Hugo Chávez and other politicians for his biting columns in the Caracas-based daily Tal Cual and other national publications. Read more.


















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