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Hear ye, hear ye! The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has announced the winners of its International Press Freedom Awards. Dmitry Muratov of Russia, Mazhar Abbas of Pakistan, Adela Navarro Bello of Mexico and Gao Qinrong of China have put their life or liberty on the line to bring you the news.

Muratov is founder and editor-in-chief of the investigative newspaper, "Novaya Gazeta", which CPJ deems "the only truly critical newspaper with national influence in Russia today." "Novaya Gazeta", with a staff of 60, has paid a heavy price for their work; three of its reporters, including Anna Politkovskaya, have been killed.

Abbas is deputy director of ARY One World Television, the first bilingual (Urdu and Hindi) 24-hour news channel from Pakistan, and secretary-general of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists. Abbas was one of three journalists who found bullets in white envelopes in their cars in May. He was also charged by police this year after protesting the closure of three independent TV channels for reporting on anti-Musharraf demonstrations.

Navarro heads the weekly Tijuana-based magazine "Zeta", one of the only publications to regularly investigate organised crime, drug trafficking, and corruption in Mexico's northern states, where self-censorship is extensive. The cost of the magazine's coverage of crime along the U.S.-Mexico border has been high: Héctor Félix Miranda, co-founder of "Zeta", was killed in 1988, and co-editor Francisco Ortiz Franco was murdered in 2004.

Gao, who worked as a reporter for China's official Xinhua News Agency in the northern province of Shanxi, was released last year after eight years in prison. In 1998, he exposed a scam irrigation project in his home province. As a result, he was charged with a slew of crimes, including embezzlement, fraud, and even pimping, and sentenced to a 12-year jail term. After his early release for good behaviour, Gao is struggling to get the charges against him dropped.

CPJ will also honour Tom Brokaw, former anchor and managing editor of "NBC Nightly News", with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award given for lifetime achievement. Brokaw is a man of many firsts: the first U.S. news anchor to report that the war with Iraq had started, the first to interview Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987, and the first U.S. anchor to travel to Tibet to report on human rights abuses and to interview the Dalai Lama.

The awards will be presented at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on 20 November.

For more details of the winners, see:

(25 September 2007)

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