CPJ PRESENTS AWARD TO PAVEL SHEREMET IN BELARUS
On 8 December, representatives of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) presented the 1998 CPJ International Press Freedom Award to Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet in Minsk, two weeks after Belarus authorities denied him permission to travel to New York to attend the awards ceremony. Dozens of independent journalists, diplomats, and Belarusian politicians attended the event, where CPJ executive director Ann Cooper presented the award to Sheremet, whose plight drew international attention and widespread press coverage at the CPJ's awards ceremony on November 24. The Belarusian Association of Journalists, an organisation representing independent media, helped organise the event. "This support, from US, Russian, and European journalists, is very important to my colleagues here," said Sheremet, editor of "Belarusskaya Delovaya Gazeta" and Minsk bureau chief of Russian Public Television (ORT). In 1997, Sheremet was stripped of his media accreditation, jailed for two months, and barred from leaving the country in reprisal for his investigative reports on Lukashenko's Soviet-style policies.