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The Committee to Protect Journalists Wins January Sidney

February 15, 2011

NEW YORK: The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced today that the Committee to Protect Journalists has won the January Sidney Award for its extraordinary contributions to the protection of journalists around the world, including its recent work in tracking the plight of journalists during the recent protests in Egypt. Since the beginning of the uprising, the Committee has documented fifty-two assaults on journalists and seventy-six detentions in that nation.

Ahmad Mohamed Mahmoud, a journalist working for the newspaper Al-Ta'awun, died February 4th from gunshot wounds sustained on January 29th. Mahmoud's wife, Inas Abdel-Alim, told Al-Jazeera that it happened while he was shooting a video from his balcony of a confrontation between security forces and demonstrators on the street. She said that they told him to stop filming, but was hit by a sniper shot before he could react.

"They meant to kill him; they aimed at his head with live ammunition," Abdel-Alim said on Al-Jazeera. "The perpetrator did this to him because he was filming what was happening. They didn't want us to cover the massacre that happened that day."

Sidney Award Judge Charles Kaiser said, “Since 1981 CPJ has brought crucial attention to the persecution of journalists in every corner of the world. By publicizing arrests, assassinations, and assaults, CPJ has focused international attention on the policies of dozens of repressive governments. It played a particularly important role in the past month as dozens of foreign and Egyptian journalists have been attacked in Egypt.”

Since the beginning of the Egyptian uprising, CPJ has attracted 3,000 new followers on Twitter, for a total of more than 11,000.

“The campaign of violence and intimidation waged against journalists in Egypt was unprecedented,” CPJ executive director Joel Simon said on the day that Hosni Mubarak finally resigned the Egyptian presidency.  “The government’s goals were to prevent Egyptians from communicating with one another and to hide their own brutal actions from the world. They failed on both counts.”

Since becoming CPJ’s executive director in 2006, Simon helped the committee launch the Global Campaign Against Impunity which seeks out justice in cases where journalists are murdered.  He also helped establish the Journalist Assistance Program which provides legal, medical, financial and relocation assistance to journalists in need.

In 2010, the committee spent more than $3.5 million keeping track of attacks on journalists around the world.  It has twenty-five full-time employees, as well as consultants and representatives around the world. It will celebrate its 30th anniversary this spring.

For an interview with Simon about the activities of the committee, please go here.





The Sidney Award is given once a month to an outstanding piece of socially-conscious journalism, or a leading journalistic association,  by the Sidney Hillman Foundation, which also awards the annual Hillman Prizes every spring. For more information please click here.

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Certificate designed by Edward Sorel

The Sidney is awarded monthly to a piece published in an American magazine, newspaper, on a news site, or a blog. Television and radio broadcasts by an American news outlet are also eligible, as are published photography series.

Deadlines are the last day of each month. The piece must have been published in the month preceding the deadline. In the case of magazines, please nominate according to the issue date on the publication, not when it first appeared.

Nominations are accepted for one's own work, or for someone else's.

The Foundation will announce a winner on the second Wednesday of each month. Recipients will be awarded $500, a bottle of union-made wine, and a certificate designed especially for the Sidney by New Yorker cartoonist, Edward Sorel.

If you wish to nominate yourself or a piece by anyone else, please click here for our nomination form.If you have any further questions about the nomination process, please send your inquiry to [email protected]