The Committee to Protect Journalists has picked four recipients of its 2015 International Press Freedom Awards, including its first ever award to a cartoonist, plus a lifetime achievement award to AP Pakistan and Afghanistan regional correspondent Kathy Gannon.
The winners are:
- Zone 9 bloggers of Ethiopia, six of whom have been arrested, imprisoned and charged with terrorism for what CPJ calls "retaliation for critical reporting."
- Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque (Zunar) of Malaysia, a cartoonist charged with sedition who faces 43 years in jail for drawings highlighting government abuses.
- Cándido Figueredo Ruíz of Paraguay, who has been under 24-hour police protection for a decade because of reports on drug smuggling along the Paraguay/Brazil border.
- Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (Syria), a "citizen journalist" collective reporting from the capital of the Islamic State.
"In a very dangerous period for journalists, these awardees have braved threats from repressive governments, drug cartels, and Islamic State," said CPJ executive director Joel Simon in a statement. "Whether through blogs or traditional media outlets, or by drawing cartoons, they risk their personal safety and freedom to bring us the news."
Gannon has been a correspondent and bureau chief in the region since 1988 and author of "I is for Infidel: From Holy War, to Holy Terror, 18 Years Inside Afghanistan." In 2014, Gannon received the James Foley Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism. In 2014, Gannon was shot multiple times and AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus was killed in an attack while they were covering elections in Afghanistan.
The winners will be saluted at CPJ's awards dinner and benefit Nov. 24 in New York. ABC anchor David Muir will host.