4 Journalists Receive Freedom Awards

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(AP) Four journalists from Afghanistan, Russia, Morocco and Cuba were honored Tuesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Abdul Samay Hamed of Afghanistan, Aboubakr Jamai of Morocco, Musa Muradoz of Russia, and Manuel Vasquez Portal of Cuba received 2003 International Press Freedom Awards from the journalism group.

In announcing the awards in September, CPJ said the journalists had suffered “serious reprisals for daring to report with independence and authority in countries where dissent is not easily tolerated.”

In addition, John F. Burns, chief foreign correspondent for The New York Times, received the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for lifetime achievement. The award is named for the longtime CBS News executive.

CPJ, based in New York City, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the global defense of press freedom.

According to CPJ, Hamed, who writes commentaries about Afghanistan’s political and social problems for the magazine Telaya, was attacked by two men with knives because of his comments about the power of warlords. Hamed also publishes the magazine.

Jamai, publisher of Le Journal Hebdomadaire and Assahifa al Ousbouiya, was convicted of defaming Morocco’s foreign minister in an article that accused him of corruption. Jamai and a colleague remain free pending an appeal, CPJ said.

CPJ said Muradoz keeps the newspaper he edits, Chechnya’s Groznensky Rabochy, independent from either side in the conflict, and has continued to edit from Moscow where he fled after a bomb destroyed the newspaper’s offices.

Portal helped establish Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, an independent news agency in Cuba, and is serving an 18-year prison sentence after being arrested in a government crackdown on the independent press, CPJ said.

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