Press Freedom Awards ceremony defends journalists in an ‘increasingly repressive world’

In the words of the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon, “Practicing journalism in the face of grave danger requires a deep sense of optimism and a sincere faith in humanity.”

Those qualities were on display Thursday night at the group’s International Press Freedom Awards ceremony in New York. Journalists from Guatemala, Mozambique, Myanmar, and other countries were recognized for their courageous work. The honorees did not travel to the US due to Covid-era concerns and uncertainties, but the fundraising gala did return in person, complete with a online transmission option.
You should read all about CPJ honorees here. The quote that most caught my attention was that of Matías Guente, executive editor of Canal de Moçambique and CanalMoz. His newsroom was destroyed by arson in August 2020. He was also persecuted by local officials, harassed and intimidated in recent years. “They can burn newsrooms,” he said, “but they can’t burn thoughts. The threat of fire only heightens what these arsonists fear most, the critical spirit.”
From my perspective, this annual event always reinforces the privileges of working in a flawed but fiercely free news environment like the United States, a stark contrast to many other parts of the world. Simon, what is go down of CPJ at the end of the year after a tremendous 15-year career, said Thursday night: “I have always believed, and still believe, that a free society and a free people require a free press. People all over the world he deserves this. And we must continue the fight on his behalf. “

Focus on the case of Jimmy Lai

Through ABC abstract of the event: “CPJ also presented media entrepreneur Jimmy Lai with his Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award, an award reserved for an individual who has demonstrated extraordinary and sustained achievements in the cause of press freedom. “Lai, owner of Apple Daily newspaper and business tycoon pro-democracy media, has been behind bars for almost a year. CPJ reiterated Thursday that Lai should be released immediately and that all charges against him should be dropped …

An “increasingly repressive world”

The evening’s host, ABC’s “World News Tonight” host David Muir, opened with this point:

“At first glance, a journalist’s job is simple: collect and then report the news. But for many reporters in today’s increasingly repressive world, just asking questions can be a crime. During the Covid pandemic Reporters have been jailed and intimidated just for collecting data on the number of infections and hospitalizations. Many governments have been insincere about their failure to tackle the disease. Some have used Covid coverage to crack down on political dissent. Journalists seeking Cutting off that propaganda and misinformation, of course, poses a threat to those who try to control the message. And those journalists run the constant risk of being silenced. “

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