The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) last week honoured journalists from Cameroon, Yemen, Mexico and Thailand at the 27th annual International Press Freedom Awards for their courageous work, amid risks such as imprisonment, threats, and exile.
Ahmed Abba, a Cameroon journalist who works for Radio France Internationale (RFI) and who has been in prison since 2015 on ‘fake’ terrorism charges, was awarded in absentia.
Mexico-born Patricia Mayorga, a correspondent for Mexico’s Proseco and founder of the Free Journalism Network, was also rewarded. Reports said Mayorga was forced to flee Chihuahua state (her birthplace) by death threats for her reporting on corruption and human rights violations.
Thai reporter Pravit Rojanaphruk, who faces sedition charges for his critical reporting on Thailand’s junta, was also a laureate of the day.
“All of us in this room lose sleep over the safety of those who work for us, or with us, in difficult and dangerous places,” David Rhodes, president of CBS News and chair of the awards dinner, said.
“Like all of the news organisations here tonight, we support journalists willing to take risks on behalf of their readers, listeners and viewers, and their right and need to be informed.”
The evening’s host, chief international correspondent for CNN and CPJ board member Christiane Amanpour, urged the United States to be a beacon and a defender, not a destroyer of the First Amendment values everywhere.
“The brave journalists we honor tonight certainly think so. They have paid dearly, some with their lives or liberty, to report the news.”
Image by Journal du Cameroon.com