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Dialogue on press freedom with CPJ press freedom awardees

Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the Senate Human Rights Caucus briefing and dialogue with the 2015 recipients of theCommittee to Protect Journalists International Press Freedom Award

Journalists foster accountability through their reporting on politics, crime, corruption and human rights abuses. However, in many countries journalists work in a climate of fear, intimidation and censorship generated by repressive governments and, increasingly, by illegal non-state actors and criminal organizations.

Each year, the Committee to Protect Journalists recognizes courageous journalists from around the world with its International Press Freedom Award. The 2015 awardees are all from countries where press freedom is under stark attack:

• Zone 9 bloggers (Ethiopia)
• Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, “Zunar” (Malaysia)
• Cándido Figueredo Ruíz (Paraguay)
• Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (Syria)

These journalists have endured death threats, physical attacks, legal harassment, imprisonment, and exile in the course of their work. They will share their insights and concerns about the state of media freedom in their respective countries, and provide recommendations as to how the U.S. government, and especially the Congress, can strengthen and support media freedom in an increasingly contentious and conflict-ridden world.


• Candido Figueredo Ruiz, Paraguay
• Abdel Aziz Al-Hamza, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, Syria
• Soleyana Gebrichael, Zone 9 Bloggers, Ethiopia
• Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, “Zunar,” Malaysia


• Dr. Courtney C. Radsch, Committee to Protect Journalists

Opening Remarks

• Congressman James McGovern, Co-Chair, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission

Thursday, November 19, 2015; 10:00 A.M.

2255 Rayburn House Office Building

Join us in New York City with Obang Metho

“The devastating of beheaded our 30 young Ethiopian men in Libya because they were Christians in April 2015 have shaken Ethiopians to more closely examine why so many of our people take the risk to leave their homes only to find themselves in harm’s way. These questions fill our minds as grief and sadness surrounding the horrible deaths of our young Ethiopians continues to overwhelm us.

Ethiopia is a poor country in the world despite the fact we have abundant resources. Billions of dollars of aid money have flowed into the country; but yet, the outpouring of our people continues unabated. The image of our country is now closely intertwined with that of seeing our young men burned alive in South Africa, the 48 Ethiopians who died after being caught in the civil conflict in Yemen, those who died in containers in Tanzania, those found dead in Lake Malawi, our young girls hanging themselves in the Middle East, the dead and rotting body of a young Ethiopian, lying in the streets of Saudi Arabia for lack of someone to bury her, Ethiopian bodies floating on the Red Sea or the Mediterranean Sea after the boats carrying them capsized, the skeletons of Ethiopians in the Sinai Desert after their organs had been removed, our young boys and girls selling their bodies on the streets of Addis with no one to protect them; our elders within Ethiopia searching for food in the heaps of trash, Ethiopian men and women of courage, fleeing the country under threat of arrests because they spoke the truth and demanded change, and now our 30 young men beheaded or shot in the head in Libya because they were Christians.