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Shahidul Alam among CPJ’s 2020 International Press Freedom awardees

  • Published at 12:01 am July 14th, 2020
Shahidul Alam
Shahidul Alam Courtesy: Rehnuma Ahmed

Three others from Iran, Nigeria and Russia have been awarded this year

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has announced renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam as one of the winners of its 2020 International Press Freedom Awards.

Three other journalists from Iran, Nigeria, and Russia have also been made recipients of the award this year, CPJ said in a statement on Monday.

They are, Iranian freelance economic reporter Mohammad Mosaed, NIgerian Dapo Olorunyomi, the co-founder, CEO and publisher of the Nigerian daily Premium Times, and Russia’s Svetlana Prokopyeva, a regional correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The four have been arrested or faced criminal prosecution in reprisal for their reporting, CPJ said before adding it will also honour lawyer Amal Clooney with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award this year.

“Like brave and committed journalists everywhere, CPJ’s honorees set out to report the news without fear or favor for the benefit of their communities, their country, and the world,” it quoted CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.

“They understood that they would confront powerful forces, enemies of the truth, who would try to stop them from doing their work.

“What they did not foresee was Covid-19. The global pandemic has not only made their jobs more difficult and dangerous; it has fueled a ferocious press freedom crackdown as autocratic leaders around the world suppress unwelcome news under the guise of protecting public health,” he added.

Photojournalist and rights activist Shahidul Alam is the founder of   Pathshala Media Institute and the Drik photo library.

“In August 2018, Alam was detained after posting a video to social media about student protests in Dhaka. He spent 102 days behind bars, and said he was beaten in custody, before being freed in November 2018,” the CPJ statement said.

The winners will be honoured on November 19 this year at CPJ’s annual benefit gala, to be chaired this year by Patrick Gaspard, president of Open Society Foundations, and hosted by veteran broadcast journalist Lester Holt, according to the statement.

The CPJ said that due to health and safety restrictions related to Covid-19, this year’s gala will be virtual, with video profiles, compelling press freedom stories, award presentations, and acceptance speeches streamed online.