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Radio Okapi and 60 Press Freedom Heroes honoured by IPI

At its Congress this week, the International Press Institute (IPI) honoured Radio Okapi, based in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the 2010 Free Media Pioneer award. Radio Okapi began broadcasting on 25 February 2002 as a public service station and has contributed to peace and democratisation with its professionalism and ethics and its diversity, with daily broadcasts in five languages.

Its website is the first news website in the country and gives the outside world a portal into the country's daily developments. The radio station is jointly managed by the Fondation Hirondelle in Switzerland and the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission (MONUSCO) in Kinshasa.

Radio Okapi journalists have received threats because of their reporting on fighting between rebels, government forces and local militants. Two of its journalists have been killed since 2007.

IPI also gave tribute to its 60 World Press Freedom Heroes on Tuesday in a ceremony that also marked IPI's 60th year defending press freedom around the world. Proceeds from the book "Words of Freedom: A Tribute To 60 IPI World Press Freedom Heroes" go to IPI's Press Freedom Fund. Twenty of the heroes were in attendance in Vienna. IPI also honoured IPI member Raymond Louw of South Africa with a Lifetime Commitment to Press Freedom award.

In other news from the Congress, which was held in Vienna and Bratislava from 11 to 14 September, IPI members unanimously passed 10 press freedom-related resolutions, which included: calls to release journalists in Iran; for Ukrainian authorities to end impunity and allow independent television stations to operate; for Zambia to relinquish control of the media; to end media censorship and oppression in Fiji.

A full list of the resolutions can be found at the IPI website:

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