The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has awarded five journalists who have put their lives and liberty on the line to bring up the news.
The winners are Zaffar Abbas, editor of Pakistan’s Dawn; Patrícia Campos Mello, reporter and columnist of Brazil's Folha de S. Paulo; Neha Dixit, freelance investigative journalist in India; Lucía Pineda Ubau, editor of Nicaragua’s 100% Noticias; and Maxence Melo Mubyazi, champion of online freedom of expression in Tanzania.
The CPJ will honour the journalists with the 2019 International Press Freedom Awards amid the erosion of press freedom in democracies around the globe.
They will be honoured at CPJ's annual awards and benefit dinner chaired by Laurene Powell Jobs and Peter Lattman of the Emerson Collective at the Grand Hyatt New York Hotel in New York City on November 21 this year.
Dawn Editor Zaffar Abbas has been awarded the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award by the CPJ for his extraordinary contribution when journalists and media in Pakistan were facing extraordinary pressure. Abbas continued to be a vocal supporter of steps taken to keep journalists safe. He was also elected as the chairman of Editors for Safety in 2015.
"Zaffar Abbas is the embodiment of journalistic courage, which is why the board is so pleased to honour him with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award," said Kathleen Carroll, chair of the CPJ board.
Patrícia Campos Mello is a reporter and columnist of Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo. During the 2018 Brazilian presidential election campaign.
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 is an Indian freelance investigative journalist who covers human rights.
She 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 is news director of Nicaraguan news channel 100% Noticias, and Miguel Mora is the founder and editor of the channel. The pair was imprisoned in December 2018 in relation to their coverage of political unrest.
They were freed on June 11 after six months behind bars. They were under surveillance and in isolation most of the time while in prison.
Maxence Melo Mubyazi is the champion of online freedom of expression in Tanzania. He is the co-founder and managing director of Jamii Forums, an online discussion site and source of breaking news.
Mubyazi has been charged under the country's restrictive Cyber Crimes Act and, in 2017, appeared in court 81 times.
Joel Simon, CPJ's executive director, said: "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.”
"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," he further added.
People can contact Buckley Hall Events at (914) 579-1000 or CPJ's development office at (212) 300-9021, or email [email protected] to purchase tickets.