The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor journalists from Brazil, India, Nicaragua and Tanzania with the 2019 International Press Freedom Awards, amid the erosion of press freedom in democracies around the globe. All of the winners will be honored at CPJ’s annual awards and benefit dinner. This year’s dinner will be chaired by Laurene Powell Jobs and Peter Lattman of the Emerson Collective. The videos for the awards will be produced by VICE Media. The event will take place in New York City on 21 November 2019.
CPJ’s 2019 International Press Freedom Awards’ honorees include Tanzanian Maxence Melo Mubyazi, champion of online freedom of expression in Tanzania. Mubyazi co-founded and is the managing director of Jamii Forums, an online discussion site and source of breaking news. He has been charged under the country’s restrictive CyberCrimes Act and, in 2017, appeared in court 81 times.
Including Mubyazi, the nominees come from around the globe like Patrícia Campos Mello, a reporter and columnist at Brazil’s daily, Folha de S. Paulo. During the Brazilian presidential election campaign in 2018, Mello was attacked online and doxxed in response to her coverage of supporters of then presidential-candidate Jair Bolsonaro allegedly sponsoring bulk messaging in WhatsApp.
Neha Dixit, a freelance investigative journalist in India who covers human rights, has faced legal and physical threats, as well as online harassment, after reporting on alleged wrongdoing by right-wing nationalist groups and police.
Lucía Pineda Ubau, news director, and Miguel Mora, founder and editor, of Nicaraguan broadcaster 100% Noticias were imprisoned in December 2018 in relation to their coverage of political unrest. They were freed on 11 June 2019, after six months behind bars, under surveillance and in isolation most of the time.
The 2019 IPFA honorees
“The winners of CPJ’s 2019 International Press Freedom Awards represent the very best of journalism, people who have put their lives and liberty on the line to bring us the news. While we celebrate their courage, we lament that it is required. The sad reality is that around the world independent journalism is threatened by populist authoritarians who disdain and disparage the work of the independent press. This is true in the countries represented by our honorees and many others,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director.
CPJ’s 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award recognizing extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom will be presented to Zaffar Abbas, editor of Pakistan’s daily newspaper Dawn. Abbas, who has decades of experience as a reporter in Pakistan, has led Dawn since 2010. Under his leadership, Dawn and its reporters have frequently come under government pressure.
“Zaffar Abbas is the embodiment of journalistic courage, which is why the board is so pleased to honor him with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award. Every day he fights to deliver facts to Dawn‘s readers in the face of pressure, obstacles, and blockades from the institutions in Pakistan that would much prefer to go about their business without scrutiny from the press or the public,” said Kathleen Carroll, chair of the CPJ board.