International journalists who have endured death threats, physical attacks and imprisonment or exile are to be honored with Press Freedom Awards.
The Committee to Protect Journalists' 2015 International Press Freedom Awards will be presented to Malaysia's Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, Paraguay's Candido Figueredo Ruiz and bloggers and journalists from Ethiopia and Syria at a ceremony in New York on Nov. 24.
Ulhaque, CPJ's first cartoonist awardee, is charged with sedition and faces a possible jail sentence for drawings lampooning high-level abuse in the Malaysian government, the committee said. Ruiz lives under 24-hour police protection for reporting on drug smuggling on the Brazil-Paraguay border.
The Ethiopian honorees are bloggers for the Zone 9 group, whose name is a reference to the eight zones of a notorious prison. Six of the bloggers have been arrested and charged with terrorism for critical reporting.
The Syrians are affiliated with the citizen journalist collective Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. The committee described it as one of the few independent news sources that continue to report from inside the Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital.
“In a very dangerous period for journalists, these awardees have braved threats from repressive governments, drug cartels, and [the] Islamic State,” CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. “Whether through blogs or traditional media outlets, or by drawing cartoons, they risk their personal safety and freedom to bring us the news.”
Veteran Associated Press foreign correspondent Kathy Gannon, who was shot six times by an Afghan security officer while on assignment in Afghanistan, will receive the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement in the cause of press freedom.
Gannon and AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus were covering presidential elections in eastern Afghanistan when the shooting happened in April 2014. Niedringhaus was killed, and Gannon was badly wounded.
“Gannon is widely known as one of the most thoughtful and dedicated journalists covering the region,” said Sandra Mims Rowe, chairman of CPJ's board of directors.
The winners will be honored at a ceremony hosted by ABC “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir.