CPJ announces 2016 International Press Freedom Award winners

Awardees from Egypt, India, Turkey, and El Salvador

New York, July 18, 2016—The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor journalists from Egypt, India, Turkey, and El Salvador with its 2016 International Press Freedom Awards. The journalists have faced threats, legal action, and imprisonment. CPJ is also honoring Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent and anchor at CNN, with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award.

The 2016 IPFA awardees are:

  • Mahmoud Abou Zeid, an Egyptian photojournalist also known as “Shawkan,” who has been imprisoned since August 2013. Shawkan was arrested while covering the dispersal by security forces of the Raba’a Al-Adawiya protest in Cairo, in which hundreds of protesters were killed.
  • Malini Subramaniam, a freelance journalist from India, who was attacked and harassed after she reported on human rights abuses and the conflict between Maoist groups and state forces in Chhattisgarh. Earlier this year, Subramaniam fled her home state after being repeatedly harassed and threatened
  • Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, who was sentenced in May to five years and 10 months in prison on charges of revealing state secrets. The charges were in connection with reportsCumhuriyet published that alleged Turkey tried to smuggle weapons to Syrian opposition groups.
  • Óscar Martínez, an investigative reporter for the online newsmagazine El Faroin El Salvador, who covers gang violence and extrajudicial killings in the country. Martínez has been threatened for his work and CPJ has documented repeated threats against the staff of El Faro.

“These four brave journalists have risked their freedom—and their lives—to report to their societies and the global community about critical news events,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “CPJ is delighted to honor these journalists who, in the face of repression and violence, continue to bring us vital news.”

Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent and anchor at CNN, will receive the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom. “One of the most respected figures in journalism, Christiane Amanpour has reported from the world’s major hot spots and has interviewed many world leaders. She has consistently used her own journalism and worked behind the scenes to defend the rights of journalists and uphold press freedom all over the world,” said CPJ Chairman Sandra Mims Rowe. “We are proud to present her with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award, which recognizes a lifetime of dedication to her colleagues in the field.”

In 2015, Amanpour was named UNESCO’s goodwill ambassador for freedom of expression and journalist safety. She is a senior adviser at CPJ and a former board member.

All of the winners will be honored at CPJ’s annual award and benefit dinner. This year’s chairman is Jeff Zucker, president of CNN Worldwide. The event will be held at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City, on November 22, 2016.

Browse the biographies of the award winners here. 

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* - References to Kosovo are without prejudice to positions on status. They are in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice on the Kosovo declaration of independence.