CJFE announces International Press Freedom award honourees

Canadian Journalists for Freedom of Expression (CJFE) has announced the winners of the 2010 International Press Freedom Awards.

The honourees are international journalists Emilio Gutierrez Soto, Luis Horacio Nájera, Serge Sabouang, Robert Mintya and the late Bibi Ngota, who will be presented their awards at the CJFE Gala: A Night to Honour Fearless Reporting.

A press release offers bios of the 2010 International Press Freedom Award Winners:

Luis Horacio Nájera (Mexico) is a veteran journalist who spent more than a decade reporting for La Reforma media group in Ciudad Juarez and other hotspot areas along the Mexican-US border. Throughout his career he has dedicated himself to investigating politically sensitive issues ranging from government corruption to the trafficking of drugs, people and weapons, until fears for his life and his family’s safety forced him to seek asylum in Canada.

Emilio Gutierrez Soto (Mexico) was a correspondent for the Ascension bureau of El Diario, a daily newspaper based in Ciudad Juarez in the North-Western border state of Chihuahua. After writing a number of stories that offended the Mexican military he was forced to flee Mexico with his son and requested asylum in the United States. He spent seven months in an immigration and customs detention center before being released on bond. He is currently awaiting his asylum hearing.

Serge Sabouang (Cameroon) is the publisher of the bimonthly newspaper La Nation and presides over the ethics board of Union des Journalists Libres du Cameroun.

Robert Mintya (Cameroon) is the publisher of the weekly Le Devoir, a newspaper known for its coverage of political events.

Bibi Ngota (Cameroon) was the editor of the Cameroon Express.

Sabouang, Mintya and Ngota were all arrested in February 2010, after obtaining, but not publishing, a government document that allegedly implicates a top presidential aide of influence peddling and corruption. They were charged with “imitating the signature of a member of government.” Ngota died in prison from undisclosed causes on April 22, 2010. Sabouang and Mintya are being held at a pre-trial detention centre and face up to 15 years in jail.

The 13th annual CJFE Gala will be held at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto on Thursday, November 25, 2010. A cocktail reception begins at 6:00 p.m. followed by dinner and award presentations at 7:00 p.m.