Committee to Protect Journalists said the four reporters have 'endured and defied media repression'
Four journalists who have been subject to harassment, assault, torture and censorship have been announced as the winners of the 2011 International Press Freedom Awards.
The annual awards are presented by the Committee to Protect Journalists and this year honour four journalists' who have "endured and defied media repression" across four countries: Bahrain, Belarus, Mexico and Pakistan.
Winners of the awards this year, which will be presented in New York on 22 November, are Mansoor al-Jamri, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Al-Wasat in Bahrain, Natalya Radina, editor-in-chied of Charter 97 in Belarus, Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas, founder of Ríodoce in Mexico and Umar Cheema, a reporter at the News in Pakistan.
"We are proud to honour these journalists, whose tenacious reporting continues in defiance of severe censorship tactics meant to silence inconvenient truths," CPJ executive director Joel Simon said in a report on the winners.
"By resisting threats and abuse, these journalists give voice to daily realities in their countries and secure our universal right to receive independent, reliable information."
On Twitter al-Jamri thanked the CPJ for the recognition: "I am honoured to be chosen for this prestigious award".
The CPJ will also award its Burton Benjamin Memorial award for lifetime achievement in defending press freedom to broadcast journalist Dan Rather, who spent 44 years with CBS News, with roles including anchor and managing editor of The CBS Evening News for 24 years and correspondent for 60 Minutes.
The winner of this achievement for 2009, Eynulla Fatullayev, will also receive the honour this year after being released from prison in Azerbaijan earlier this year.
Background on the winners of the International Press Freedom Awards for 2011 can be found below, based on more detailed profiles available on the CPJ website:
Mansoor al-Jamri is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Al-Wasat, an Arabic-language daily in Bahrain which was reportedly closed down by authorities. The paper was later reopened under state control and al-Jamri was brought back in as editor-in-chief.
Natalya Radina is editor-in-chief of Charter 97 in Belarus, a pro-opposition news website. She was arrested in December last year and indicted on charges of organising mass disorder. She was later released and moved to Russia, spending months in hiding. She was granted asylum in Lithuania and edits Charter 97 from there.
Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas is founder of weekly title Ríodoce in Mexico, covering the state of Sinaloa. Days after the title published a series on drug trafficking unknown attackers threw a grenade into the paper's offices. No one was injured but substantial damage was caused.
Umar Cheema is a reporter with The News, a daily title in Pakistan. He was abducted and tortured in September last year. According to the CPJ Cheema talked publicly about his kidnapping after being released and has since faced harassment and threats. His case of kidnapping remains unsolved.
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