International Press Freedom Award

  • Akbar Ganji, Iran

    An investigative journalist who is currently in prison for taking on the Iranian leadership for its involvement in the operation of death squads. His work has been published in Tehran newspapers Sobh-e-Emrouz, Fath and Asr-e-Azadegan, all three of which were banned in 2000. Ganji is a former functionary of the Revolutionary Guards and was a street activist during Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic revolution in Iran. The complaints about his work were brought forward by the joint chiefs of staff of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and other security agencies.

    2000
  • Jineth Bedoya Lima, Colombia

    She made international headlines in early 2000 when the military affairs reporter for the newspaper El Espectador in Bogotá was kidnapped, beaten and sexually assaulted. She had been covering a jail house story about a dispute between inmates belonging to a right-wing paramilitary group called the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia and other prisoners. It is believed that the kidnapping occurred because of displeasure with Bedoya's report in El Espectador suggesting the leaders of the paramilitary group may have ordered execution-style killings during a battle inside the prison.

    2000
  • Mark Chavunduka and Raymond Choto, Zimbabwe

    Editor and senior writer, respectively, for the Sunday Standard, they were subjected to detention and torture for publishing what authorities claimed was "false information" that could lead to "fear and despondency". The two were seized by authorities after publishing a story about 23 disgruntled Zimbabwean soldiers who were arrested in December 1998 for attempting a coup. They were charged under the 1960 colonial Law and Order Maintenance Act. Chavunduka and Choto laid criminal charges for assault and torture, and launched a civil suit against the Zimbabwean police and military.

    1999
  • Zafaryab Ahmed, Pakistan

    A Pakistani journalist who now lives in the United States of America, he was driven into exile after years of extreme persecution, imprisonment and censorship for his work on human rights abuses in Pakistan. He still faces charges of treason and a possible death sentence in Pakistan for alerting the international community to the murder of Iqbal Masih, a 12-year old child activist for the Bonded Labour Liberation Front. Ahmed continues to write about human rights abuses and the increasing gap between Pakistan's rich and poor. He is currently studying for a PhD.

    1999
  • Jesús Barraza Zavala, Mexico

    Editor of the weekly Pulso in Sonora, on the border with California. He received multiple death threats for his reports on the illegal drug trade and its connections with the Mexican government. Prior to this, he was editor of La Prensa, where his predecessor, Benjamín Flores, was shot and killed at the door of the newspaper's offices in July 1997. Barraza said that in the region drug traffickers fear reporters more than the police, a frightening realization that has not stopped his colleagues from continuing their work

    1999
  • Bayo Onanuga, Nigeria

    Editor-in-chief and a founding editor of the Lagos-based Independent Communication Network Limited (IGNL), which produces The News, Tempo and PM News. The publications are known for "guerrilla journalism" continuing to publish despite arrests, banning and the seizure of their equipment. A strong critic of the late dictator Sani Abacha, Onanuga fled Nigeria in 1997 after hiding out for months from state security forces. He has since returned home to resume work at IGNL.

    1998
  • Babfemi Ojudu, Nigeria

    Managing editor and a founding editor of IGNL, was freed in July 1998 after nearly dying in a Nigerian jail of illnesses resulting from his detention. He spent eight months in prison without charge, and previously spent time in jail in 1996 after being abducted and beaten unconscious by state security forces.

    1998
  • San San Nwe, Burma

    A well-known journalist in Burma, as well as the editor of two magazines and the author of several books, including Alone in the Wind and Rain and Prison of Darkness. She was arrested in August 1994 and sentenced to seven years for "spreading information injurious to the state", and three years for "contact with an illegal organization". She was unexpectedly released from prison in July 2001.

    1998
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