Committee to Protect Journalists honors reporters who defy war and repression

NEW YORK, 18 November 2022 /PRNewswire Policy/ — The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) paid tribute Thursday evening to inspirational journalists from Cuba, Iraqi Kurdistan, Ukraine, and Vietnam by presenting them with the 2022 International Press Freedom Awards (IPFA). CPJ’s board of directors also honored Russian editor and publisher Galina Timchenko with its 2022 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award. The event was held live in New York City following two years of virtual and hybrid events.

“Our press freedom awardees are unwavering in their commitment to keeping the public informed, often at great personal sacrifice,” said CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg. “These journalists' determination to report the facts – even in the face of relentless attempts to silence them – is inspiring.”

The 2022 awardees in attendance included Cuban journalist Abraham Jiménez Enoa, and the Ukrainian editor-in-chief of Ukrainska Pravda, Sevgil Musaieva. CPJ also honored jailed Vietnamese journalist Pham Doan Trang and exiled Iraqi Kurdish journalist Niyaz Abdullah, who was unable to travel to the United States.

“We Cuban journalists will not be silent. There is no possible way to leave us without our voice,” said Jiménez, who was forced to leave Cuba for Spain after Cuban authorities threatened him and his family because of his reporting. Jiménez, who received his award from veteran journalist María Elena Salinas, went on to say, “We Cuban journalists will denounce the outrage of Cuba’s dictatorship until the final second of its existence. Even if we must pay a high price for doing so.”

Musaieva spoke powerfully of the experience of maintaining a newsroom–and with it, truth and hope–in her embattled homeland of Ukraine while mourning friends and colleagues like Brent Renaud and Maksim Levin, both killed while documenting the early stages of Russia’s full-scale invasion. Sharing a memory from her diary of bringing clothes to the morgue for Renaud, she declared, “Truth survives when there is someone to fight for it.” Holly Williams of CBS News presented Musaieva with her award.

CNN’s Omar Jiménez accepted the award on behalf of Trang, who is imprisoned in Vietnam. In his remarks, he called for solidarity with Trang and other journalists incarcerated for bravely pursuing the truth.

Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post announced the award for Abdullah, saying that CPJ would hold it for her until she was able to receive it in person. With the award, CPJ sought to highlight the legal harassment by security forces and local authorities to which she was subjected for criticizing Kurdish authorities. She was also detained and threatened with violence over her work.

Journalist and writer Masha Gessen presented the Gwen Ifill Award honoring Russian journalist Galina Timchenko for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. Timchenko, who helped to found and now runs the popular Russian news site Meduza from exile in Riga, Latvia, vowed to “reach out to millions of Russian readers who need the truth now more than ever," and "provide independent objective information to our readers and not to leave them alone at the darkest hour.”

The evening included two special segments dedicated to honoring the 62 journalists killed so far in 2022 and another in solidarity with dozens of Iranian journalists arrested while covering women-led protests against the state.

This year’s awards ceremony was hosted by ABC News President Kim Godwin. The event was chaired by Shari Redstone, chair of Paramount Global. Redstone commended the awardees’ “commitment to shining a light on the actions of those in power, an unyielding adherence to the truth, and an unshakable sense of ethics and integrity.” The event raised over $2 million, which will go toward supporting CPJ’s work to protect press freedom globally at a time of record numbers of journalists imprisoned, persistent impunity in their killings and waves of journalists forced into exile.

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Journalists interested in scheduling an interview with the awardees and CPJ experts or requiring photos or b-roll should email press@cpj.org. Profile videos about the awardees are available here and the entire awards dinner can be watched here.

Executive Board Assessment [2]

Executive Directors noted that St. Lucia’s tourism-dependent economy was severely hit by the pandemic, and while there was a significant rebound in tourism in 2021, the recovery remains incomplete as the surge in import prices and high inflation following the war in Ukraine weigh on economic growth. Directors noted significant challenges ahead as the public balance sheet remains under pressure, with a sizeable fiscal deficit, high rollover needs, and a sharp increase in public debt, as well as the looming threat of natural disasters. Against this backdrop, they emphasized the need to address fiscal and financial constraints to public and private investment to foster a sustainable and inclusive recovery.

Directors concurred that, in the near-term, fiscal policy should focus on protecting the most vulnerable from food and fuel price increases. Given financing constraints, they encouraged the authorities to prioritize spending and to increase the pass-through of global energy prices while supporting vulnerable households with targeted transfers.

As the recovery takes hold, Directors called for pursuing a credible and growth-friendly fiscal consolidation to strengthen fiscal sustainability, create space for social and infrastructure investment, build buffers against natural disasters, and put debt on a downward path. Adopting a medium-term fiscal responsibility framework, a debt management strategy, and a fiscal rule to support debt sustainability would be important.

Directors highlighted the role of the financial sector to unlock private sector growth. They encouraged facilitating access to credit and boosting financial intermediation, including by modernizing the insolvency and foreclosure legislation and establishing the credit bureau and a movable collateral framework, as well as strengthening the non-bank financial sector. Directors noted the expansion of the credit union segment and welcomed the Financial Services Regulatory Authority’s plan to conduct an asset quality review of credit unions. They urged the authorities to address remaining AML/CFT deficiencies to protect correspondent banking relationships.

Directors called for tackling structural challenges to support growth and boost productivity, including by addressing labor market skill mismatches, building energy independence, and increasing economic diversification. They encouraged enhancing structural and financial resilience to natural disasters through a long-term integrated strategy 2 in a comprehensive macroeconomic framework within debt-sustainable bounds. Investment in resilient infrastructure would support growth and enhance fiscal sustainability. Directors noted the importance of developing a strong disaster insurance strategy while structural resilience is built.

SOURCE Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

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