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IFEX MEMBERS HONOURED WITH DEMOCRACY AWARD

Kudos to IFEX members this month! The man who crafted the Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA), the chair of the board of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), and the Institute for Press and Society (Instituto Prensa y Sociedad, IPYS) - Venezuela, which kept close tabs on the RCTV controversy, are three of this year's winners of the National Endowment for Democracy's (NED) Democracy Award.

SEAPA chair and assistant group editor of Nation Media Group Kavi Chongkittavorn has been a tireless campaigner for press freedom throughout Southeast Asia and beyond. A journalist for more than 20 years, he was one of the founders of SEAPA, which remains the only regional organisation with the specific mandate of promoting and protecting press freedom in Southeast Asia. He is also a former IFEX convenor.

Hisham Kassem, one of Egypt's most prominent publishers and democracy activists, was IFEX convenor as well through his work with EOHR. He was the publisher of "Al-Masry Al-Youm", Egypt's first independent daily paper, and vice-president of the opposition Hizb al-Ghad party.

IPYS Venezuela, founded in 2002 as a branch of IFEX's long-time member in Peru, has become the authoritative voice on freedom of expression in the country at a time when press freedom has bubbled to the surface under President Hugo Chávez's rule.

This year's NED award gives special emphasis on press freedom - "a critical ingredient for any democracy," and to "the courage of those journalists who risk so much."

The other Democracy Award recipient is Anna Politkovskaya, the reporter for the Moscow newspaper "Novaya Gazeta" who was murdered in October 2006 for criticising the Russian government's policies in Chechnya

To learn more about the winners, see: http://tinyurl.com/2k4z5t

(4 September 2007)

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