3 November 2017

Africa: Honoring Courageous Journalism

press release

New York — Four inspiring journalists from Cameroon, Mexico, Thailand, and Yemen will be honored with the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2017 International Press Freedom Awards, an annual recognition of courageous journalism.

The awardees have covered the news at great risk, including retribution from political leaders,and two have had to flee their homes because of death threats. One of the awardees has been in prison for over three years for reporting on attacks carried out by an extremist group; another was detained twice by military officials and charged with sedition.

CPJ will also present broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, the managing editor of "PBS NewsHour," with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for her work in advancing press freedom and strengthening the role of women journalists worldwide. CPJ will present the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award annually to an individual who has shown extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. Originally the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award, it was renamed in 2017 to honor the veteran journalist and former CPJ board member who died in late 2016.

The awards dinner is open for press coverage. Accreditation requests will be accepted until noonon Friday, November 10.

WHAT: 27th Annual International Press Freedom Awards Dinner

WHEN: November 15, 2017

6 p.m. 6:30 p.m. Photographs and interviews

7:45 p.m. Award ceremony and dinner

WHERE: Grand Hyatt New York at 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue

WHO: The dinner will be hosted by Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent for CNN and CPJ senior advisor.

The 2017 dinner chairman is David Rhodes, president of CBS News.

Award Winners: Ahmed Abba, a correspondent for Radio France Internationale's Hausa service; Patricia Mayorga, a correspondent for the Mexico City-based newsmagazine Proceso;Pravit Rojanaphruk, a critical reporter and press freedom advocate in Thailand; and Afrah Nasser, a Yemeni independent reporter and blogger who lives in exile. Judy Woodruff will be honored with CPJ's inaugural Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms. A document as important as the constitution, involving rights and freedoms, should above all contain references to the relevant international standards and should explicitly state that religious values cannot interfere with the recognition and guarantee of these rights and freedoms.

We would also like to express our dissatisfaction with the provisions on freedom of expression and information in Chapter II on rights and freedoms and in Chapter VII on constitutional entities, which contain concepts that are vague and unknown in international law. This lack of precision can obviously lead to arbitrary interpretations that violate human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Main recommendations

We urge the members of the Libyan Constitution Drafting Committee and the members of the House of Representatives to:

Redraft articles 37 and 38 on freedom of information and publication, making a clear reference to Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which enshrines the principle of freedom of expression and information, while specifying that the use of this right must not be subject to prior control.

Provide for constitutional guarantees for press freedom and abolish prison sentences for media offences.

Redraft Article 46 on the right of access to information in order to improve access and the dissemination of information in the media, which would make it possible to ensure transparency, combat corruption and safeguard the rights of journalists and the confidentiality of their sources in accordance with international standards.

Clarify the conditions under which use of the rights and freedoms stated in Article 65 may be restricted. We suggest that this paragraph should refer to international law, under which any restriction must be envisaged by the law, must be necessary to the pursuit of a legitimate objective and must be proportional to this objective, so that no article can impair established human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Draft a constitutional provision guaranteeing full recognition of the High Media Council as a constitutional entity. The council would be responsible for regulating only the broadcast media and for granting licences to radio and TV stations. It should also be assured a consultative role on media legislation.

SOURCE Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)


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