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The 13th annual Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France Prize

Winners of the Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France Prize

The 2005 Prize goes to:

- Journalists who, through their work, attitude or principled stands, have shown a strong commitment to press freedom
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The winner is Chinese journalist Zhao Yan, a Beijing researcher for the US daily the New York Times and ex-reporter for the magazine China Reform. He has been imprisoned since 17 September 2004 in Beijing. For supposed fraud and disclosing state secrets. The 43-year-old journalist faces execution for allegedly passing on notes to a New York Times colleague about rumours of tension between the current and former Chinese presidents. The authorities keep putting off his trial.

- A media outlet that exemplifies the battle for the right to inform the public and to be informed
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The winner is Afghanistan’s main privately-owned TV station, Tolo TV. It was founded by an Afghan-Australian media group, Moby Capital Partners, and broadcasts very independent news programmes (and also music) that contrast with the dry style of the government TV station. Since Tolo’s October 2004 launch, the religious authorities have called its programmes “immoral and anti-Islamic” and are pressing very hard for the station to be banned. Despite these threats, Tolo TV continues and has just started the first talk-show for Afghan women, called “Bonu.”

- A defender of press freedom
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The winner is the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ, formerly SOJON), founded in Mogadishu in 2002 to defend journalists and press freedom in Somalia, which has been torn apart by civil war since 1991. The NUSOJ has tackled dozens of urgent cases, doing investigations and alerting international organisations and media, as well as writing reports on the media conditions in a country ruled by warlords. Its secretary-general and the president of its supreme council were forced to flee Somalia in early September 2005 after being attacked, hounded and threatened by militiamen.

- A cyber-dissident prevented from informing the public online
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The winner is Massoud Hamid, a 29-year-old journalism student and one of the very few journalists who has managed to take and send abroad photographs of a pro-Kurdish demonstration in Syria. For this he was sent to prison for three years on 10 October 2004 and has spent the first year in solitary confinement. He was tortured several times and beaten on the soles of his feet with a studded whip. His feet are now completely paralysed and he suffers from dizziness and back pain.

By honouring a journalist, a media outlet, a defender of press freedom and a cyber-dissident, Reporters Without Borders and the Fondation de France are alerting people to the wide range of attacks on the right to inform the public and to be informed and to the need to actively support press freedom. Each prize is worth †2,500.

Since it was set up, the Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France Prize has been awarded to: Zlatko Dizdarevic (Bosnia-Herzegovina - 1992), Wang Juntao (China - 1993), André Sibomana (Rwanda - 1994), Christina Anyanwu (Nigeria - 1995), Isik Yurtçu (Turkey - 1996), Raúl Rivero (Cuba - 1997), Nizar Nayyouf (Syria - 1998), San San Nweh (Burma - 1999), Carmen Gurruchaga (Spain - 2000), Reza Alijani (Iran - 2001), Grigory Pasko (Russia - 2002), Ali Lmrabet (Morocco - 2003) and Hafnaoui Ghoul (Algeria - 2004).

Several winners of the prize have been released just a few weeks or months after being awarded it, including Lmrabet (who won on 10 December 2003 and was freed on 7 January 2004), Pasko (won in December 2002 and released the following month), and San San Nweh (won in December 1999 and freed in 2001).

The prize is awarded by an international jury, whose members are:

Ekram Shinwari (Afghanistan), Andrew Graham-Yooll (Argentina), Rubina Möhring (Austria), Nayeem Islam Khan (Bangladesh), Zhanna Litvina (Belarus), Olivier Basille (Belgium), Colette Braeckman (Belgium), Maung Maung Myint (Burma), Sebastião Salgado (Brazil), Carlos Cortes Castillo (Colombia), Miriam Leiva (Cuba), M’Baya Tshimanga (Democratic Republic of Congo), Domenico Amha-Tsion (Eritrea), Francis Charhon (France), Noël Copin (France), Laurent Joffrin (France), Elise Lucet (France), Pierre Veilletet (France), Sabine Christiansen (Germany), Michael Rediske (Germany),Sailab Mahsud (Pakistan), Ricardo Uceda (Peru), Micea Toma (Romania), Alexey Simonov (Russia), Fernando Castelló (Spain), Maria Dolores Masana Argüelles (Spain), Vicente Verdu (Spain), Eva Elmsater (Sweden), George Gordon-Lennox (Switzerland), Gérald Sapey (Switzerland), Sihem Bensedrine (Tunisia), Barbara Crossette (United States), Ben Ami Fihman (Venezuela).

Runners-up:

“Journalist” category:

- Daniel Coronell (Colombia) Outspoken head of the news programme “Noticias Uno” on the TV station Canal Uno, contributor to the magazine Semana and a critic of President Álvaro Uribe. He was forced to leave the country for the United States after months of pressure, threats and harassment because he investigated killings in the “peace community” of San José de Apartadó (in the northwestern province of Antioquia).

- Hector Fernando Maseda Gutiérrez (Cuba) A nuclear engineer who was dismissed by the regime in the late 1980s for “ideological errors” and in the 1990s joined the small independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro. He is also vice-president of the Liberal Democratic Party. He was arrested in the March 2003 crackdown on dissidents, accused of “undermining the country’s independence and territorial integrity” and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

- Akbar Ganji (Iran) A journalist with the reformist dailies Sobh-é-Emrouz, Neshat and Asr-é-Azadegan, editor of the weekly Rah-é-No and a symbolic Iranian media figure. He was given a six-year prison sentence for “undermining state security,” “insulting the founder of the Islamic Republic and the holy principles of the regime” and for “making propaganda against the Islamic Republic.”

- Tulkin Karaev (Uzbekistan) Correspondent for Radio Free Europe, Voice of America and the Iranian radio station Mashhad in the southern town of Karshi and a contact for the rights group The Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR). He was the target of a witch-hunt by the authorities after the violence in Andijan on 13 May 2005. He was jailed for 10 days and then left the country.

“Media outlet”:

- Democratic Voice of Burma (Burma) Norwegian-based radio and TV station founded in 1992 by a group of pro-democracy students who survived the 1988 killings and one of the few sources of news not subject to the military regime’s harsh censorship. Its correspondents in Thailand and informants inside Burma are regularly harassed by the Burmese secret police and the Thai police.

- Serambi Indonesia (Indonesia) Only six days after the December 2004 tsunami that devastated the province of Aceh, the remaining staff of Serambi Indonesia handed out nearly 10,000 copies of the paper free to the disaster victims. The paper has shown its independence and energy in the face of pressure from the security forces and separatist rebels.

“Defender of press freedom”:

- The Save Independent Radio Movement (Nepal) The army burst into radio stations on 1 February 2005 and banned independent stations from broadcasting news, putting more than 1,000 journalists out of work in the space of a few weeks. The journalists formed the Movement, which persuaded dozens of stations to resume broadcasting news.

- Gemma Damalerio (Philippines) The wife of journalist Edgar Damalerio has suffered much since he was murdered in May 2002. She went into hiding for two years to escape the accomplices of the killer (a policemen protected by his superiors) and is now guarded day and night by armed justice ministry agents. However, she has just won a victory with the jailing of her husband’s murderer for life. But those behind the killing are still walking free.

"Cyber-dissident”:

- Mojtaba Saminejad (Iran) The 25-year-old blogger was sentenced to two years in prison by the Teheran revolutionary court for criticising in his blog the arrest of three other bloggers and “insulting” the country’s Supreme Guide. He is being held in Gohar Dashat prison, in suburban Teheran, which is notorious for torture and ill-treatment.

- Pham Hong Son (Vietnam) A doctor and representative of a foreign pharmaceutical firm in prison since 27 March 2002 for translating and posting online an article called “What is Democracy?” He was sentenced to five years in prison and three years of house arrest. He has a groin hernia and lung problems. For several months he has been coughing up blood and fears he may have TB.

Press pack and copyright-free photos available from www.rsf.org (media downloads)

Contacts:
Reporters Without Borders - Sara Kianpour - tel: (33) 1 4483-8475 - communication3@rsf.org
Fondation de France - Magali Mévellec - tel: (33) 1 4421-3191 - magali.mevellec@fdf.org




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