CPJ to Honor Amal Clooney With Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award

The New York-based Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo react in a vehicle after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019.CPJ says the 2020 honorees include renowned Bangladesh photojournalist Shahidul Alam, who was beaten during his 102-day jail term for posting footage of Dhaka students protests to social media in 2018; Iranian freelance reporter Mohammad Mosaed, who has been repeatedly arrested for publishing investigations on corruption, embezzlement, labor issues, and anti-government protests; Nigeria’s Dapo Olorunyomi, co-founder, CEO and publisher of Premium Times, who has spent portions of his career in police detention or in hiding, and Russia’s Svetlana Prokopyeva, a regional correspondent for Radio Svoboda, who is facing a six-year prison term and fines for “justifying terrorism” after reporting on the 2018 suicide bombing by a Russian teenager of an FSB security service office in the northwestern city of Arkhangelsk. Radio Svoboda is a multiplatform alternative to Russian state-controlled media, providing audiences in the Russian Federation with informed and accurate news, analysis, and opinion. It is run by the Russian Service of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, one of VOA’s sister networks.   The honorees will receive their awards at CPJ’s annual benefit gala on Nov. 19, where Clooney will be presented with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for her extraordinary and sustained commitment to press freedom.    “Journalists in trouble have no better champion than Amal Clooney,” said CPJ board chairperson Kathleen Carroll in a prepared statement. “A talented barrister, gifted negotiator, and powerful speaker, Clooney works tirelessly to free journalists unjustly targeted by despotic leaders using increasingly punitive laws to stifle reporting.” The Clooney Foundation for Justice’s TrialWatch initiative monitors trials of journalists worldwide and provides free legal representation for those in need. Chaired by Open Society Foundations President Patrick Gaspard and hosted by veteran NBC broadcast journalist Lester Holt, this year’s gala will be virtual due to COVID-19 safety restrictions. The Gwen Ifill Award, is named for the groundbreaking Black journalist who covered the White House, Congress and national campaigns during three decades for The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC and, most visibly at PBS where she was the moderator and managing editor of the public affairs program “Washington Week” and the co-anchor and co-managing editor, with Judy Woodruff, of the nightly “NewsHour.” Ifill died of uterine cancer in 2016.  

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