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RSF-Fondation de France prizes recognise Eritrean, Burmese, Iraqi, Egyptian and Chinese free expression defenders

(RSF/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of an RSF press release:

The 16th Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France prize awarded today in Paris

Eritrean journalist Seyoum Tsehaye has been chosen as "Journalist of the Year 2007" by Reporters Without Borders - Fondation de France. The panel of judges sought to highlight not only the case of this brave journalist held in Eritrea's appalling jails since September 2001 but also the catastrophic state of press freedom in this small Horn of Africa country. At least four journalists have died in prison in Eritrea over the last few years. The blame lies chiefly at the door of Issaias Afeworki, the highly authoritarian and obdurate president of the country since its independence in 1993.

Demonstrations by Buddhist monks and the crackdown that followed put Burma at the top of the news agenda at the end of September. Reporters Without Borders and the Fondation de France decided to award the prize in the Media category to the Democratic Voice of Burma TV and radio, one of the most reliable sources of news during the crisis in Burma.

The Arab world features in two of the awards this year. "The Journalistic Freedom Observatory in Iraq, was rewarded with the prize of Press Freedom Defender for its vital role in exposing violence and murder against journalists. And the young Egyptian blogger Kareem Amer is the laureate in the Cyber-dissident category. The 23-year-old was sentenced to four years in jail for criticism posted on his blog of President Hosni Mubarak and of the Islamist grip on the country's universities.

Finally, with just a few months to go before the opening of the Beijing Olympics, Reporters Without Borders has awarded a special "China" prize to husband-and-wife human rights team Hu Jia and Zeng Jinyan, who are under house arrest. Holed up at home the two activists nevertheless continue to do their best to keep the entire world up to date with damaging effects on the Chinese people of the preparations for the Olympic Games.

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To read the full press release, see:

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