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Zimbabwean playwright wins inaugural freedom of expression art prize, Burmese comedian receives imprisoned artist prize

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is an abridged version of a 23 December 2008 ARTICLE 19 press release:

London: inaugural freedom of expression arts prize awarded

Zimbabwean playwright Mhlanga has won the inaugural freedom of expression art prize and $50,000 for his repeated challenge of the Mugabe regime through political satire.

The judges also awarded the art prize for an imprisoned artist to Burmese comedian, producer, director, writer and actor Zarganar (the tweezers). Zarganar was sentenced in November 2008 to 45 years imprisonment for "creating disaffection towards state and government" by collecting donations for the victims of Cyclone Nargis, and a further 14 years for other offences under various parts of the criminal code.

The youth art prize went to City of Rhyme, a 14 strong hip-hop group from northern Brazil, whose lyrics condemn violence.

The ArtVenture Freedom to Create prize was launched in early 2008 by philanthropist organisation ArtVenture in partnership with ARTICLE 19. The prize received 930 nominations from 86 countries.

For the full text of the press release, see:

For further information on the Zarganar case, see:

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