Reporters Without Borders voiced "immense satisfaction" today at the news that Chinese journalist Cheng Yizhong is to be awarded the 2005 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano press freedom prize, and it seized the occasion to reiterate its call for the release of Yu Huafeng and Li Minying, two of Cheng’s colleagues who are still in prison.
"This award is an important mark of recognition for the investigative journalism of which Cheng Yizhong is emblematic and it will encourage all journalists in a country where press freedom is constantly flouted," the organization said.
Reporters Without Borders added: "We hope it will also facilitate the release of the two journalists from the Nanfang Dushi Bao daily newspaper, which Cheng used to edit."
Cheng showed courage and professionalism by publishing sensitive articles in the liberal daily he edited. A series of investigative reports about the SARS epidemic and the case of a young graphic artist, Sun Zhigang, who was beaten to death in a Guangzhou police station, led to his arrest on 20 March 2004. He was freed after five months in custody but his two colleagues, Yu and Li, who were arrested at the same time, are still being held.