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2007 IPA awards go to Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube, Turkish journalist Hrant Dink and Russian reporter Anna Politkovskaya

(IPA/IFEX) - The following is a 16 May 2007 IPA press release:

The 2007 IPA Freedom Prize goes to Zimbabwean Publisher Trevor Ncube
2007 IPA Freedom Prize - Special Award goes to Dink and Politkovskaya

Geneva, 16/05/2007 - Publisher Ncube of Zimbabwe receives 2007 IPA Freedom Prize for his exemplary courage in upholding freedom of expression. IPA also awards a special posthumous prize to Hrant Dink of Turkey and Anna Politkovskaya of Russia.

During the opening ceremony of the 2nd Cape Town Book Fair on 15 June 2007, Zimbabwean publisher Trevor Ncube will be receiving the 2007 IPA Freedom Prize in recognition for exemplary courage in upholding freedom of expression and freedom to publish in his country and internationally.

The board of the International Publishers' Association (IPA) selected Trevor Ncube as Prize-winner from among many highly commendable candidates, nominated by IPA members, individual publishers and human rights' organisations.

Ana Maria Cabanellas, President of IPA, declares: "Trevor Ncube's work as a publisher and his wholehearted support of freedom of expression have often brought him into conflict with Zimbabwean authorities and endangered his personal safety. Despite repeated threats of violence and attempts to strip him of his Zimbabwean citizenship, Trevor Ncube's newspapers have persistently continued to expose corruption and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe, thus encouraging healthy dissent and criticism both in the public and private sectors. We award this Prize to Trevor Ncube in deep respect for his courage as a publisher and as a salute to the passion, the integrity, and the steadfastness that he so marvellously demonstrates".

On the same occasion, IPA will be awarding the "2007 IPA Freedom Prize - Special Award" to Hrant Dink and Anna Politkovskaya. Hrant Dink, a Turk of Armenian descent, was the editor-in-chief of the Armenian-Turkish weekly newspaper 'Agos', which sought to provide a voice for the Armenian community and create a dialogue between Turks and Armenians. In October 2006, he was convicted and given a six-month suspended sentence for the crime of "insulting Turkishness" under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. On 19 January 2007, he was shot dead on the street in front of his Istanbul office at the age of 52.

Anna Politkovskaya was the special correspondent for the Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, who documented the horrific crimes committed in the war in Chechnya. She was also an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin and of the Kremlin's role in Chechnya. She was shot and killed in her apartment building in Moscow on 7 October 2006, the apparent victim of a contract killing. She was 48.

Bjørn Smith-Simonsen, Chair of IPA's Freedom to Publish Committee, says: "The murders of Dink and Politkovskaya were vile. In giving them the '2007 IPA Freedom Prize - Special Award', we rise to celebrate their courage, their humanity, and their witness. We rise to celebrate the free word in the face of oppressive regimes. We also hope that this special award will remind the Russian and Turkish authorities that full light must be shed on all the aspects of these two cases".

More about Trevor Ncube, recipient of the 2007 IPA Freedom Prize:

Born and educated in and outside Zimbabwe, Trevor Ncube became Lecturer in Political Science at the University of Zimbabwe. He left to become Deputy Editor of the financial weekly, 'Financial Gazette' before joining 'The Zimbabwe Independent' as Editor. He later bought the paper as well as its sister weekly, 'The Standard'. After a few years he also acquired the South African based regional weekly, 'The Mail and Guardian'. Ncube is currently the Chief Executive of the three independent weeklies, the only private and critical newspapers still published in Zimbabwe.

More about the IPA Freedom Prize and the Cape Town Book Fair:

Created in 2005, the IPA Freedom Prize is awarded for exemplary courage in upholding freedom of expression and freedom to publish. It is intended to honour, normally each year, a person, organisation or institution that has made a notable contribution to the defence and promotion of freedom to publish anywhere in the world. The prize-winner receives the sum of 5,000 CHF (approximately 3,000 EUR or 4,000 USD).

The IPA Publishers' Freedom Prize will be presented during the opening ceremony of the 2nd Cape Town Book Fair on 15 June 2007 by IPA President Ana Maria Cabanellas. For more on this event, whose theme for 2007 is "More than Black on White", please see:

More about IPA:

The International Publishers Association is the global non-governmental organisation representing all aspects of book and journal publishing worldwide. Established in 1896, IPA's mission is to promote and protect publishing and to raise awareness for publishing as a force for cultural and political advancement worldwide. It is an industry association with a human rights mandate. IPA promotes intellectual property, fights against censorship and IPA currently has 65 member associations in 53 countries.

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