The International Press Freedom Awards mark the Committee to Protect Journalists dedication to fighting for press freedom globally and this year will honour four journalists from Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria and Russia who have been arrested or faced criminal prosecution in reprisal for their work. Lawyer and human rights advocate Amal Clooney will also receive the 2020 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award, presented by actor Meryl Streep, a vocal supporter of press freedom.
“In times of unprecedented uncertainty, it’s journalists who are out there, gathering the facts and trying to help us make sense of it all. By asking tough questions, and pursuing the truth at any cost, they are essential workers – serving the public and protecting democracy,” Meryl Streep said.
Hosted by NBC Nightly News’ anchor Lester Holt, this year’s ceremony will be broadcast by major news outlets including NBC News, CBS News, and in Ireland by RTÉ News on November 20 at 9.00am as well as online at www.ipfa2020.org (19 November at 8pm EST)
CPJ will celebrate four awardees:
· Renowned Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam, imprisoned while covering protests in 2018;
· Freelance Iranian reporter Mohammad Mosaed, recently sentenced to more than four years behind bars and banned from practicing journalism;
· Dapo Olorunyomi, the co-founder, CEO, and publisher of the Nigerian newspaper Premium Times and long-time press freedom champion; and
· Svetlana Prokopyeva, a correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Russia who was convicted on charges of “justifying terrorism” in retaliation for comments she made on a radio show.
CPJ’s Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award is given annually to individuals who have shown extraordinary achievement in the cause of press freedom. This year’s awardee, Amal Clooney, has been a committed advocate for the rights of journalists calling on world leaders to stand up for the press. She has served as counsel for several journalists under threat and currently represents celebrated reporter and editor — and 2018 Gwen Ifill Awardee — Maria Ressa. Ressa has been persecuted in her home country of the Philippines for reporting on government corruption by her news organization Rappler. She will interview Clooney as part of the ceremony.
In a sign of solidarity across the industry, Holt will be joined by other notable journalists such as CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour, CBS News “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan, PBS NewsHour White House Correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, and ABC News “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir, among others. The show will include calls in support of press freedom from leaders in and outside of journalism, including actor Rosamund Pike, satirical news host Samantha Bee, journalist Ronan Farrow, and former Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Meher Tatna.
Watch the 2020 International Press Freedom Awards on the RTÉ News channel on Friday 20 November at 9.00am.