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Media Advocacy Group Names Eritrean 'Journalist of the Year'

The media rights group Reporters Without Borders has named an imprisoned Eritrean journalist as its 2007 "Journalist of the Year."

Seyoum Tsehaye has never been charged or appeared in court since his arrest in September 2001, more than six years ago. Reporters Without Borders says there are concerns about his health, and that it is not known where Tsehaye is being held.

The Paris-based group says it wants to highlight not only Tsehaye's, case but also what it calls the catastrophic state of press freedom in Eritrea.

Eritrea shut down all independent media in 2001 and has kept at least 12 journalists in jail since then at unknown locations.

Reporters Without Borders awarded a separate prize to the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma, which it said was one of the most reliable sources of news during September's pro-democracy protests in Burma.

Reporters Without Borders also honored an Iraqi group that it said has exposed violence against journalists; an Internet blogger sentenced to four years in prison in Egypt for criticizing President Hosni Mubarak; and a Chinese couple it says is under house arrest for writing about the damaging effects of China's preparation for the Olympics.