The Committee to Protect Journalists and press freedom supporters from around the world celebrated journalists from Brazil, India, Nicaragua, and Tanzania last night at the 29th annual International Press Freedom Awards in New York. CPJ presented the 2019 Gwen Ifill Award to veteran Pakistani journalist, Zaffar Abbas.
All the honorees work in developing democracies that have experienced a deterioration in their respective press freedom environments, and they have had to fight in the face of censorship and threats to bring stories and information to their communities. Earlier this week, the awardees met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to raise concerns about threats to press freedom around the globe, including rhetoric about “fake news” from leaders in their countries.
“This is the 29th CPJ gala. Some of you were here at the first one. You knew then that a free press is the underpinning of democracy, and that it cannot be taken for granted,” said veteran U.S. journalist and IPFA host Shep Smith. “If the events of the past decade have shown us anything it is that independent journalism is more necessary than ever.”