Transcript for 2020 CPJ International Press Freedom Awards
Good evening tonight ABC news is honored to bring you the Committee to Protect Journalists international press freedom awards. It's been a trying year for press freedom around the world and it's been tested right here at home. Journalists have been called the enemy of the people and while reporting on the pandemic the virus has been called fake news. We have seen the tests that journalists have faced to reporting of the 20/20 election and on the fight for racial justice in the US. In fact the Committee to Protect Journalists and its partners that the US press freedom tracker. Are investigating more than 900 incidents against journalists here from assaults two arrests to quit and teachers. If we learned one thing this year is that we need accurate and timely information to keep ourselves and are loved ones safe. And its reporters like those you'll meet right here tonight who sift through mountains of misinformation. To help us make sense of the world. Each year CPJ honors courageous journalists who have faced everything from government harassment criminal prosecution. To imprisonment because their pursuit of the truth. Has threatened those in power. So tonight we gathered to pay tribute to work for journalists from Russia Nigeria Iran and Bangladesh. All of whom have paid a price. Simply doing their jobs. CP GA. It's expected. To go someplace and talked to the prime minister or the president or the Justice Minister and say you need to let these people through. You put them in jail because you want to shut them up. You can't shut us. Breaking news you are going to be seeing some video here that we have just coming ends up. Thousands of protesters are calling for government reform. There's always crackdown in Europe and Italy one of the deadliest days yet and there aren't at 100%. Icu capacity. Its streets around them. The protests journalists have also found themselves being hurt local as well as foreign journalists have often deep in the thick of. We've seen just being arrested and I don't know alive under arrest talks continue guest. His comment. This point in being very soon they all June's. Recently seen journalists us. I'll make you immune to being. Harassed by police abuses against the meat here are getting worse over. If they've arrested dozens of. Costs and journalists at when hearing countries that don't respect press freedom and that's exactly where CPJ's sentencing. Meet them of the press is the foundation. Every single right you have. We are not attending this night. In the face of danger journalists continue to face their lives on the line to bring them on her exploits. Darkest parts of the well you could not have been more profession you weren't doing your job behind the ball. I know they've been through a lot they're very wrong feared journal and I can hear went right now saying if each one just keep your head down. Keep working. Now is not the time. Welcome. Thank you for joining us for the 22 any international press freedom awards presented by the Committee to Protect Journalists. The powerful video that we just song is the reason we're here. Whether covering the pandemic or protests. Journalists everywhere are under attack. The very truth they seek to bring us is under attack. And Charlie were going to meet some of the brave reporters that we just saw on learn how we can support a free press. And to guide us there it's my pleasure to introduce Committee to Protect Journalists board member. And anchor of the NBC nightly news and dateline NBC. Lester holt. Hi everyone I'm Lester holt. Every year the Committee to Protect Journalists on whose board I am proud to serve honors courageous journalists from around the world at this event. For nearly forty years the Committee to Protect Journalists are stood shoulder to shoulder with reporters around the globe who braved violence and intimidation. Just for bringing us the news. And I doubt that the committee he has ever been more needed than right now what time we're living room. Rarely on our lifetimes has the need for accurate and timely information been greater. We are a wash with miss information. And lives the pandemic actually embolden all Democrats everywhere to crackdown on dissent and civil liberties. In democratic countries leaders have undermined their own institutions and health experts in their attempt. Should downplay the crisis. Independent journalism as a bulwark against this erosion of freedom and slide into confusion. Journalists around the globe have taken up the challenge to keep citizens informed. Sometimes. Price of their own freedom. Such sacrifice is a common theme at the CPJ awards. This year is no exception. Tonight we will hear from an international community of journalists news reporters familiar faces and surprising guests who were all gathered to honor the work. A four journalists from Russia. Nigeria. Iran and Bangladesh. Who have paid a heavy price for their quest after the truth. I am honored to be here at Walt commuted join us in this fight for press freedom. Hi I'm Patrick gas board president of the open society foundations I am honored to be the chair of this year's international press freedom awards. For three decades these awards are focused attention on the struggles of independent reporters and editors around the world. They recognize courage and professionalism. In the face of cruel oppression. They also give encouragement to those journalists in jail or exile for their work. The corporate nineteen pandemic has shown us all what a world without accurate information to look like. So many people have suffered so many people have died in part because those in power manipulated or bungled the flow of information. We need skeptics and people who ask tough questions to hold our leaders to account. That means we need journalists and journalists need protection. I am supporting the committee protection. Join. Hello from London. Now US sanctions have crippled Iran's access to medical supplies but still the country has been scrambling. To cover up the extent and impact of code of nineteen on the country. And one point indeed suspended the printing and distribution of old newspapers. Despite intimidation and the ever present threat of ending up in Tehran's notorious aging prison. Independent journalists have assisted in bringing us the truth. One such is on next honoring. A dogged investigative reporter who is just this year. Incentives to navy's five years in prison he is Mohammed most side. It. These are scarce pictures from protests in Iran. He rang Grumman has shut down nearly all Internet access in the country their pockets and access and let people show what's happening on the ground with a rare sunny very hard to figure out. What exactly is going on here with the protest and I humiliating home Regis. Situation room and press freedom in Iran and then there's no interest income from Benton and facing his state run seemingly however has not had few little unsure report as a journalist there first measure a's to a site. You always tough to ensure back can always helps to ensure communications. And then when your mom that was arrested in the middle of the nation lying. Street protest. This tree is one of the reasons it was a Reston. Yeah. He was. Detained for. Over a month. All of it he was in solitary confinement. Help Indies journalists slight hum but has become. Personal friend. I and then you Runyon journalists. I was detained for older twin halves months and suddenly take him Klein. It's like peak alliance. We'll enforce. It was grieve. And my colleagues at the community to protect journalists got involved with Mohammed's case. We immediately. With statements now. And launching its own media campaign on his. Cost. On. August 25. Amendment receives my nonsense pants. Yeah any reason he'd gone soft heavy sentence. Isn't because so that you use. I referred to tell the true. These journalists. On the ground that we sometimes hear all of it was a flood there's a Wal-Mart is depend endings. He millones down our forces in the system would do not want the truths to be. Share it with the outside rolls back. He's being punished only for being a very truthful. Childless. Thanks. The foreign journalists who stories we hearing and give us a glimpse into the battle for press freedom. In honoring this struggle and this sacrifice and we send a signal of hope and solidarity to the thousands of other journalists who in June attacks. The loss of livelihood the loss of vivid scene. And sometimes even the loss of life that comes with being an independent voice in so much of the well. Their reporting has brought light into these dark times. Tyrants who loved the dog it stokes then misdeeds in their lives by supporting CP GA you'll also helping journalists everywhere. Bring us the light of truth. Congratulations. To all of the honorees. As usual dissonant. It's an amazing and courageous group of it and then. For more than thirty years foundation supported to Committee to Protect Journalists. Because press freedom is the lifeline citizen engagement in Benin republic. Around the world there simply isn't more certainty to organizations supporting free press. Is specially in the crisis. We're proud of our significant investment and CB journeys including our most recent ground for a million dollars for their headquarters and don't. I'm here to ask you for your support every dollar you dearest partners and we'll be matched dollar for dollar nights on pinch. Charles W dude sixty dollars real wondered if you hear us thousand dollars to reach 2000 dollars. Give any amount but she's here. It's your move by the courage and tenacity of the honorees. Did. If you believe in inform communities and accountable government you should get. Nights on nation will double your gift and we're delighted to do so. Thanks. Independent journalism in Nigeria today owes a debt of gratitude to our next award dean who began fighting for a free crass back in the 1990s. His tempo magazine angered that country's military dictatorship so much. That issued a shoot on sight order against him after he was forced into hiding to escape arrest in 1995. He survived. The dictator. Since then he has continued that fight for press freedom all the while working as a prolific journalist and founder of news it's. It is my great pleasure to introduce an and sometimes known as the godfather of online journalism in Nigeria. Double wheel annual. We. But he's listed teachers. Do not believe in yeah I get frustrated. Plenum all the press is impunity PO Mexico and Nigeria a dividend is a moving target journalists in Nigeria will conduct. Very difficult conditions. Closed societies like us depressing is the only cool could possibly be seat of an opposition. 1996. It would doesn't judges of trees and my colleagues say he is an. You need you really have to live to clinch the just and CP did into the Amnesty International collaborated and got me out of Nigeria. It's not part of the bill. Legislation. Today he's comfortable. That's. Protecting you is eggs on the guy. My years of exile is walked him to free many of McAleese who NJ a rise in media some parts for the kinds of walks Ned did do. So said okay and as tried to do something will publish online and that's how remember parents must permit. Apple one million households more than just what democracy but footprints become extension. Future. The and opinion times sheen's. Own luncheon on in this country. We do you own these Nigerian newspaper invited to be part of deprive a copy of others. Greatest seventeen. We had three and as starry the head of the Nigerian army. I was arrested and don't fight that put Hillary and me when I dated reports to reach the chief of army staff at the time did not find so called political. The community to protect journalists. Quickly if you jumped him. In part to close one of the biggest days of public isn't enough resume and. On Internet radio I know when he brought his paparazzi jail fit. But they do applause the duties. Heated to body next to him. Check style media from doing is what. What is clearly a citation section games don't know journal constitution. Don't or between Iowa comfortable at all times that's what illustrious. Mallory usage you will need to go to YouTube would take days or bury doughboy. Just hearing that people have an agent Carlos. Which impression loitering east that keeps you going. You yeah. Once hope is that's will be able to design new ways. Until forums. Are coming to BC John and resume to country. DC is this sense I was challenge for press freedom I think in the region. Our world is changing faster than ever. Every morning continues at protests natural disasters. Pleas for towel TV news a global pandemic the world and I think. Maggie Islam. We need information. Is needed and got us to lose we need to know the truth. Because truth means freedom freedom from censorship freedom here it. Freedom from oppression from corrupt governments stricken from misinformation. From the abuse of power from behind us. And this we can only happen in new world when beaten and beat us. And a free press. It's protected. For me a free press guarantees the freedom to make jokes to have an opinion sequences. Style seek the truth. Protest to write a story to me all out to criticizing contextualize the facts to speak out. Fight back and stand up stand up standout signed up for what is. Join us and donate to the Committee to Protect Journalists there school fight. Yes. Russian knows how to silence critics. Political opponents often keel over from cuisine. Independent journalists often stifled through intimidation. Harassment shorted detention for physical attack does not make for screening international headlines. And for that reason is probably even more affective. The court system as a favorite tool of the Kremlin for oppression. Prosecution. After bullets prosecution can crush the life out of a reporter. He was one journalist who refuses to let that happen but not happy talk a paid him. Won't compare plus hit him across Haiti trouble this. Time travel plus hits genetics some complex chemist unit and wounding chill. Known as we Chinese he speech. And I typically book hasn't changed. To salute the sloping concoction. Though my niece seeing his Chang. Welcome to conclude a present so we'll loss hit kind of thing you most dangerous because let's put the plan cleanest it's almost from Ukrainian. It's not quote giver is a journalist who works for Radio Free Europe radio league there's T NGOs civil war for a rebel radio station ankles Moscow. She got in trouble for the comments she needed the broadcast on a terrorist attack. I mean what that the show will sectional timing and tactics. Seoul CNN went into the selection. On physician's annual terrific chef Amy isn't timlin walked. In Russia begin a half to be asks. Well known outspoken journalist who created golf President Putin himself to be prosecuted. It's. Four at your opinion. What we immediately jumped in the case of these bad teachers apply now we issued an alert. And the Russian journalistic community demonstrated its solidarity and in defense thinks that slot. Other for a dozen protesters many of them journalists. But detained by the police in Moscow on Friday. Walked additional money because he gutless to deal with fossil from him to and he doing socially intellectually. Almost lost traction couldn't seems to infinitely local com. Scientific problem and it's a socialist for slapping each wheel on the war not supplant them. The core of deeds find her guilty. Of justifying terrorist. But fortunately she wasn't sentenced two a jail term. She ended up with a huge fine and she is still under the travel back and the supply in this case was it case work. Freedom of expression and Chris freedom was put on trial. If we did the comedian to predict your eyes. Don't help those journalists don't speak out in defense of them who else is going to Judy. It. My name is Kathleen Carroll. Advocate for press freedom and board chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists. Today. You don't need to be a professional journalists to report the news today. 280 characters can carry a message to will be heard around the world. The video taken by your cellphone. And bear witness to actions that might otherwise be erased. The Internet can be a platform for people to speak loudly. Even when governments trying to silence them. But today those very tools have ushered in a new era propaganda. It is more difficult than ever to decipher what his real. And what is not. Join me in defending our access to facts. Join me and celebrating brave and accurate reporting. Because press freedom is not just about protecting journalists. It's about your right to share your story and engage the world. Press freedom is your freedom. We all know that at its hard journalism is about storytelling at our next award winners of master of the crafted words. And even more so the pictures. For more than three decades his photographs of his native Bangladesh have provided powerful insights into the social and political upheaval in this country. He's brave reporting led to his detention two years ago. Freed on bail after four months a legal case against him remains open. But no government has been able to shut down one of Bangladesh is a great photojournalist. Shall we dual. We live in a very visual world. Create constantly. Immersed in images. He told how to think by other people who use images to direct our minds and for a photojournalist on need is to tell the story on need is to ensure. The message goes up. He thought to be at the full front. And that's what we had perceived as the biggest threat. Dennis now last night combat veterans shouted when Adam he is a photographer. And social activists. I think they got that these guys predicted it certainly felt that fear was enough repression would have been enough. But you can not seen in an uneasy in this mama. I just getting this into each coach is here outside including mount pictures of the dove over. Shahid who ala has been arrested charged with spreading false information about recent student protests. On August 5 2018 I messages from my sources and bomber days saying that shy angel's been detained. The moment the Committee to Protect Journalists heard if we knew we had to get to work right away. We hope to his family organize a protest outside do UN general assembly to put pressure on the Bangladeshi government. There's a massive coalition and normalization as well I was coordinating information. I don't know that the government really need only done all the backlash they would face it was immediate. He. On he was tilted oven to chill. And there were times tonight fools on my company if I was finally released on the 25 of November. Around ahem some days off toasting time. It's not an individual. Up for air it's a community effort. We are dependent on journalists standing up and solid day he and others who are willing to fight this fight along with us because there's power in numbers. It is very very important the spotlight. Was not a spotlight just in me but the spotlight from by vivacious booklet and repression. And I felt then outside June. That if he can continue but resistance and it's not support continues. We have a Chaucer writing her own. Good journalists we have just met Svetlana depo Mohammed. And show you know. Our exceptional. Unfortunately their stories are typical of the hundreds of journalists received PJ supports each year. CBJ's dedicated staff report on attacks on the press and mount campaigns and efficacy. In defense of the press. This all under the leadership of our next speaker. Executive director of CPJ. Shall sign. Smartphones have made it possible for people around the world to document what they see. And say what they shake. We are all journalists if you will. We all have the same rights whether guaranteed in the First Amendment or international law. We still need the professionals who go out every day and take the risks. The hard questions. Gather the facts we want to be informed. We want to be connected. We want to be hurt. But there are risks for those who challenge power. To Deirdre tell troops. We got the Committee to Protect Journalists. Are proud to stand up and defend the rights for journalists. Who keep the support. We're active in every place journalists are under threat. Takes money to run that kind of global operation. That's why I want to take a moment. Thank you to everyone who gave because they were inspired. Fire on a reviews. Take huge and those who supports PJ here after here. Thank huge the foundations of philanthropy is whose brands underwrite our work. Thank you to everyone here is about press freedom who values and supports the work of journalists who speaks out. When press freedom is under threat. Thank you. And thank you to Meryl Streep who now introduce Gwen Eiffel press freedom award winner. I'm also. The lake when I. In a beloved reporter who. Who anchor the PBS evening news once sent me we cannot expect the world to get better myself. We have to create something we can leave the next generation. Nguyen died four years ago. And threw her defense of press freedom she has left us a legacy which we can carry forward. Glenn was a supporter and longtime board member of the Committee to Protect Journalists which has named an award in her honor. The Glen Eiffel award is given every year for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the costs of press freedom. This evening's award. It's presented to a woman who exemplifies the tireless struggle for press freedom and justice and she's not only something every journalist needs which is a great lawyer. But she's also a defender of the international laws that make free expression. Tonight we honor her work. To ensure that governments and tyrants are made accountable for their unprecedented. Tax. On press freedom. It's my great honor to announce Amal Clooney as a 22 any recipient. That Gwen Eiffel a war. A mall brings her skill as an advocate. And her expertise in international human rights law. To help freed journalists who are unjustly imprisoned. And to protect those who face such imprisoned. Ref facing a free speech crisis in the world today and it's extremely consenting. Frank what numbers and soundness of being an eased across the wells three vilification threats surveillance imprisonment. Even mother. She has defended journalists around the and help win their freedom. Among them Mohammed bombing and Al-Jazeera journalists investigative reporter could DJ his smile. Jailed in Azerbaijan. And in Myanmar Reuters journalists want long. Which also. Amal has represented clients before courts such as the international. European court of human. Her organization to clean any foundation for justice monitors press freedom violations. And provides free legal representation for those in greatest. It's time to make justice field I guarantee. Do they history can record what happened. So that we can stop it from happening again. Okay. I am so honored to be able to tell called the winner of the 21. Who and I fell press freedom award. Not only eat at you for and let somebody who has enabled us here and rapper in the senate and actually do our work. And someone who I hope we'll continue to lead that would accidentally stay out of it all we happily around the world from each other but. Please join us in this conversation live a mile and a mile it is so good to see. I am Marianne and they're good to see you as well I wish we could be in the same man that this will have to deeds and now. PC PG eight for giving me the chance ask her question. I had ever earned a really need. To prepare for this I looked at everything you did in your life and MPAA and NASA Oxford university and wind mile professor at Columbia Law School. But the crucial question. Why do you June what you can. I think one of the reasons I days is because I'm mayor how lucky I am. IA you know I was born in Lebanon. At a time when not Kenji was going through civil long and I was lucky enough my family was tabled he needs the country and we. Needs to the UK as refugees and from land anything was possible. That I think another positive there and it's. Frankly London and death I think anger and drives. A loss of was nineteenth pick heads. When I read about what's happening in many places in the wild I just feel a sense and out rains that stays in power I confusing manpower today and twenty trends DIC. And fox see many places didn't days you committing human rights NBC is free and days whoever posting on them and president and I will continue to focus on trying to tackle both. Probably loans. Email. And I thank you send being stated time and to continue to lag then EG. Don't know I mean thank you for that it and it and we so much better that 'cause you do it you right but. When you see scenes such. Seemingly hopeless case it's clear this Amal which is hope come from for you. I'm we'll. I can't and I mean I we dusty disdain crest in and didn't never act passed in need to do otherwise. Eyes and pays its long. And it is that dobbs the dimpled and I think actually the west the situation gets any ask me why the focus on Diana's. I didn't stop Mike Currie and thinking I'm gonna focus on cases involving Janice ice I decided to take his Mike Horan on cases involving human rights and UConn defends human rights in dentists can't do that whacked you can't defend democracy needs and have. He's thriving independent media and the mall I see what's attracting regimes be coming to town and ends team. Silence daisy disagree with them to sign Wednesday's UX rays the trees or promotional or things that embarrass them and want to time and we have to be made them becoming more creative in that match day exit and say we need to become. Most savvy and hours concept and Sam I think Janice have a cause of mainland haven't pots of names and it says have a lot of pain in my name means hay say I'm. I am destined to be an oh yeah. So a mile tonight you are getting at there Committee to Protect Journalists there when I felt press freedom award. What does this isn't even. Well I feel. Sarah on men's to get this award today committee to protect Janice does incredible lack IA can do you might lack without them and I rely on the date I you know I I brings only them and they. Who really professional and and rainy day basis and sales you know I think we base feel very strongly and Jen Aniston is the lifeblood of democracy and then. This is Enid something we have to continue to iPhone. I know how powerful. Defender. You art and we wrap practice a lot to tap you on our side you're taking my case helps give me the courage team. Do what we're doing to continue standing up to power because I know that you know god forbid something happens and I tell you this all the time I know you're there. What kind of pressure does that put on. Well I'm I do you feel pressed. When I welcome cases like yours and I guess you. To some degree UK's does keep me up at nights and and Sarah should kids be kids. You might be the one in the dog that it's actually democracy that's on trial gets its. You can be. Taken away and handcuffed inside and spend every and the dentist in the country now days what they need to do to stay safe it's not sit back contest and you have the trees on hillsides. Bugs. You know. Who is them is powerful present in the country and the union the other side of these cases the government that controls the police and controls the army controls the prosecutors and potentially controls the courts say I think we costing lots of nests uniting your incredibly courageous that you shouldn't need to be this courageous. It's two months it's too much press now on people like you and I think that's why the system has detained. Most people may not realize your mom. Was is. Pure and straight how has this affected you what she's done how his report expected to. Well I mean I just need and the bullets admiring the teenage she was agenda is to listen in Lebanon and then foreign correspondent based in the name but. I grew out there wanting. Rushing to finish past. Call ends. And alienates incidents and that family my husband's father is still there investor and Dennis stands and seventies and enclave Steve base and off pods comments and an off nominees and and it means that it's it's difficult to get a wagon and to raise and our family dinner tame. Loss and thank you thank you a mother Clooney Bob Hope and you know it's really fuels for courage for us to keep doing well who. Thank you so much sooner and thank you and you isn't pleasant. Thank you for joining us in honoring these courageous journalists across the globe. Please continue to support the Committee to Protect Journalists and rally for our collective fight for press freedom. End tonight please enjoy a final musical performance. Take here everyone. And good night. Hi my name is Lee Renaldo. The song is called thrown over the wall. The lyrics were co written with author Jonathan leads them based on words ripped directly from the headlines. Let's remember that there are journalists like tonight's honorees who are willing to risk their lives or go to jail to bring us the news. This song is for them. And I move. Don't know. We are proud to salute each of these brave journalists and on behalf of everyone here at ABC news we thank you for taking time to hear their stories right here tonight.
This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.