Golden Pen of Freedom to Chinese; Gunshot to Pakistani

Li Changqing, a Chinese journalist, has been awarded the 2008 Golden Pen of Freedom, which is the annual press freedom prize of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN). Mr. Li, was imprisoned for three years on a charge of “fabricating and spreading false information” in January 2006. He had alerted the public to an outbreak of dengue fever before the authorities.

In making the award the Board of the WAN which met in Vienna, said “The Chinese authorities have a long history of covering up events they prefer to keep secret, and Li’s courageous decision to report on this outbreak, knowing the possible consequences, is an inspiration to journalists everywhere.”

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On the other hand a veteran reporter and investigative journalist, Zubair Ahmed Mujahid was shot dead in Pakistan in the southern province of Sindh on November 23. His killer, an unidentified gunman, was traveling on motorcycle when he shot him in his stomach.

Mr Mujahid is said to have been “killed because of his articles criticising the situation of the poor”. He is the seventh journalist to be murdered this year.

Considering Mr. Mujahid’s work as “courageous” and “admirable”, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) Asia Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said: “The perpetrators must be punished and learn that silencing journalists with violence is criminal and will not be tolerated.”

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