RSF awards to spotlight 'urgent need' to protect journalists
LONDON, United Kingdom – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is bringing its annual Press Freedom Awards to London for the first time on Thursday, November 8, highlighting the "urgent need" for protection of journalists in an increasingly dangerous year for media.
Some 63 journalists, 11 citizen journalists and four media assistants have been killed so far in 2018, RSF said, including Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi who was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
A total of 55 journalists were killed in the whole of 2017.
Established in 1985 to defend and promote press freedom, Paris-based RSF has been presenting its yearly awards since 1992.
Previous winners include the late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi and the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.
After opening a UK bureau in 2016, RSF is bringing the awards from Paris to London this year, in a ceremony being held at the Getty Images Gallery.
The 3 prizes are for courage, impact and independence in journalism.
"This year's shortlist reflects the challenges faced by brave journalists across the world," said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire.
"All of the nominees for our Press Freedom Awards courageously fight back against forces that would prefer journalism didn't exist, from online mobs to organized crime and authoritarian governments."
The Prize for Courage nominees are Paolo Borrometi (Italy), Swati Chaturvedi (India), Cigdem Toker (Turkey) and Hamid el Mahdaoui (Morocco).
Matthew Caruana Galizia, the son of late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia who was killed in a car bomb near her home in October last year, is one of the nominees for the Prize for Impact.
The Prize for Independence nominees are Anas Aremeyaw Anas (Ghana), Peter Peto (Hungary), Inday Espina-Varona (Philippines) and SAFE Newsrooms (Pakistan).
Afghanistan is currently the world's deadliest country for journalists, with 14 killed this year.
"The alarming number of deaths is a reminder of the urgent need to provide journalists with more protection," said Deloire.
Ninety percent of violent crimes against journalists go unpunished, said RSF.
Some 168 journalists, 150 citizen journalists and 19 media assistants are in jail, the organisation said.
RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index ranks the worst 5 countries for journalists as China, Syria, Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea, which came last at 180th. – Rappler.com