CJFE Announces 2010 International Press Freedom Awards Honourees

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
TORONTO, ON (September 7, 2010) Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is proud to recognize international journalists Emilio Gutierrez Soto, Luis Horacio Nájera, Serge Sabouang, Robert Mintya and the late Bibi Ngota with the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards, to be presented at the CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Fearless Reporting. These courageous journalists are chosen for their extraordinary courage and overcoming tremendous odds to report on controversial stories despite dangerous circumstances. "The journalists we are honouring have bravely put their personal safety at risk to tell stories the world needs to hear," said Carol Off, Chair of the CJFE Gala committee. "Our 2010 honourees have defiantly devoted themselves to freedom of expression, proving that the truth will not be silenced. Sadly, one of our awards will be presented posthumously and two in absentia, underscoring the high price that these journalists have paid." The International Press Freedom Awards recognize the strength and bravery of international journalists who overcome massive obstacles to deliver news. In the face of judicial, physical or life-endangering threats, these journalists work tirelessly so that news media remain safe. CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Fearless Reporting November 25, 2010, Toronto The 13th annual CJFE Gala will be held at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto on Thursday, November 25, 2010. A cocktail reception begins at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner and award presentations at 7:00 p.m. 2010 International Press Freedom Award Winners Luis Horacio Nájera (Mexico) is a veteran journalist who spent more than a decade reporting for La Reforma media group in Ciudad Juarez and other hotspot areas along the Mexican-US border. Throughout his career he has dedicated himself to investigating politically sensitive issues ranging from government corruption to the trafficking of drugs, people and weapons, until fears for his life and his family's safety forced him to seek asylum in Canada. Emilio Gutierrez Soto (Mexico) was a correspondent for the Ascension bureau of El Diario, a daily newspaper based in Ciudad Juarez in the North-Western border state of Chihuahua. After writing a number of stories that offended the Mexican military he was forced to flee Mexico with his son and requested asylum in the United States. He spent seven months in an immigration and customs detention center before being released on bond. He is currently awaiting his asylum hearing. Serge Sabouang (Cameroon) is the publisher of the bimonthly newspaper La Nation and presides over the ethics board of Union des Journalists Libres du Cameroun. Robert Mintya (Cameroon) is the publisher of the weekly Le Devoir, a newspaper known for its coverage of political events. Bibi Ngota (Cameroon) was the editor of the Cameroon Express. All three men were arrested in February 2010, after obtaining, but not publishing, a government document that allegedly implicates a top presidential aide of influence peddling and corruption. They were charged with "imitating the signature of a member of government." Ngota died in prison from undisclosed causes on April 22, 2010. Sabouang and Mintya are being held at a pre-trial detention centre and face up to 15 years in jail. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) boldly champions the free expression rights of journalists and media workers around the world. In Canada, we monitor, defend and promote free expression and access to information. We encourage and support individuals and groups to be vigilant in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. We are active participants and builders of the global free expression community.

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