Nigeria

Premium Times Publisher, Olorunyomi, Four Others Named CPJ 2020 International Press Freedom Awardees

The Committee to Protect Journalists will honour four courageous journalists from Bangladesh, Iran, Nigeria and Russia with the 2020 International Press Freedom Award.

All four have been arrested or faced criminal prosecution in reprisal for their reporting.

CPJ will also honour lawyer, Amal Clooney, with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award.

“Like brave and committed journalists everywhere, CPJ’s honourees set out to report the news without fear or favour for the benefit of their communities, their country, and the world,” said Joel Simon, CPJ Executive Director.  Clockwise from top left: Svetlana Prokopyeva (Artiom Avanesov); Dapo Olorunyomi (Dapo Olorunyomi); Shahidul Alam (Shahidul Alam); Mohammad Mosaed (Farid Kamran Nia)

“They understood that they would confront powerful forces, enemies of the truth, who would try to stop them from doing their work. What they did not foresee was COVID-19. The global pandemic has not only made their jobs more difficult and dangerous, it has fuelled a ferocious press freedom crackdown as autocratic leaders around the world suppress unwelcome news under the guise of protecting public health,” Simon added.

Olorunyomi was described by the CPJ as a fierce defender of press freedom in Nigeria despite repeated government harassment.

He was arrested twice before having to go into hiding in 1995, and more recently he was arrested alongside a colleague in 2017 when police raided the Premium Times’ office on allegations of defamation.

The winners will be honoured on November 19, 2020, at CPJ’s annual benefit gala to be chaired this year by Patrick Gaspard, President of Open Society Foundations, and hosted by veteran broadcast journalist, Lester Holt.

Due to health and safety restrictions related to COVID-19, organisers say this year’s gala will be virtual, with video profiles, compelling press freedom stories, award presentations, and acceptance speeches streamed online and shared around the world.

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