CJFE announces 2011 International Press Freedom Award recipients

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

CJFE honours the work of two Arab Spring reporters with 2011 International Press Freedom Awards

Both showed passion for free expression and extraordinary courage

TORONTO, Sept. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) proudly recognizes Khaled al-Hammadi (Yemen) and Mohamed Abdelfattah (Egypt) as this year's recipients of the 2011 International Press Freedom Awards. The awards will be presented at the 14th annual CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting, to be held at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto on Thursday, November 24, 2011.

These two journalists were chosen for their passion for free expression and their extraordinary courage. They did not let the many dangers they faced prevent them from working to expose the real story of what was taking place during the events we now call the Arab Spring.

"This year we recognize two journalists who have risked their safety to provide a true narrative of the events in the Arab Spring in their countries," said Carol Off, Chair of the CJFE Gala committee. "We are honoured to have these men join us at the CJFE Gala, and recognize their strength and courage in devoting themselves to freedom of expression, speaking out when ordered to remain silent."

In many countries around the world, journalists face threats—whether judicial, physical or otherwise—but continue to work tirelessly so that the news media remains free. CJFE honours their determination with two International Press Freedom Awards every year.

Both award winners will attend the gala on November 24, 2011, to accept their 2011 International Press Freedom Awards.

Khaled al-Hammadi (Yemen) has worked as a photojournalist, correspondent and fixer for foreign media. He has spent 16 years trying to explain his country to the outside world, and because he has been so public and outspoken he has faced ongoing threats, attacks and harassment by the government administration and its security and army agencies. He has been arrested, kidnapped and had his equipment destroyed.

Mohamed Abdelfattah (Egypt) helped expose the story of Khaled Said, the young man who was beaten to death by Egyptian police in June 2010. Said’s death is widely believed to have been the spark that ignited the revolution in Egypt, and Abdelfattah was among the first to report on the ensuing protests and discredit the government version that Said was a drug dealer. Abdelfattah was the first to speak to CBC News Network about what happened the day popular uprisings broke out on January 25 and how he was beaten and detained by Egyptian security forces.

The CJFE Gala is made possible by the support of returning Evening Sponsor Scotiabank, Reception Sponsor CBC News, Platinum Sponsor CTV News, Exhibition Sponsors Henry's and the Toronto Star, along with the valued support of other organizations and individuals across the media, legal, academic and business communities.

About CJFE:
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) boldly champions the free expression rights of journalists and media workers around the world. In Canada, we monitor, defend and promote free expression and access to information. We encourage and support individuals and groups to be vigilant in the protection of their own and others' free expression rights. We are active participants and builders of the global free expression community. Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #CJFEgala.