IFJ Safety Fund Wins United States Journalism Award for Humanitarian Work

The humanitarian work of the International Safety Fund of the International Federation of Journalists has been recognised by United States journalists at a special ceremony marking World Press Freedom Day in Washington. The Newspaper Guild-CWA, the union for journalists and media staff in the US, presented the award to the IFJ at the annual journalism prize-giving awards, organised this year to coincide with May 3rd celebrations.

Last year the IFJ Safety Fund donated more than 100,000Euro to journalists and their families who were the victims of violence, some killed in the crossfire of war in Iraq and elsewhere, others murdered in targeted assassinated and another group who died in a number of natural disasters and tragedies which marked out 2005 as the worst year on record for killings of journalists and media staff.

Some 89 journalists were killed while on assignment, many of them at the hands of hired assassins, while another 61 were killed in earthquakes and horrifying accidents.

“Each of these deaths was a personal tragedy, but together they provide a moving testament to the sacrifice that many of our colleagues and their families make in the service of journalism and press freedom,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary, receiving the award and a $5,000 donation for the Safety fund.

“Each year the Fund gives practical meaning to solidarity by easing the pain of loss for families and by providing support for journalists fighting for their rights against powerful forces. We appreciate very much this award and this recognition by our US colleagues.” He said that during the last year support had been given to journalists in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Iran, Iraq, Colombia, and the Philippines where the loss of life had been greatest.

The award was one of several presented at the Guild’s Freedom Award Fund banquet. The IFJ received the fifth annual Herbert Block Freedom Award, named after a Guild stalwart and a legendary figure in US journalism who was an editorial cartoonist with the Washington Post for more than 50 years. Herb Block, who died in 2001, was simply, according to Donald E Graham, the Post owner “the greatest cartoonist of all time.”

The centrepiece of the awards is the presentation of the Heywood Broun award, named after the Guild’s founder and himself a distinguished New York Times journalist. The winners this year were reporters Matt Lait and Scott Glover of the Los Angeles Times for their work to force a review of a 20-year-old murder case. Broun Award Substantial Distinction Awards went to Knight-Ridder, journalist Allison Young, and to Mike Edgerly of Minnesota Public Radio and Sasha Aslanian of American RadioWorks. The Guild also announced the winners of students scholarship awarded in memory of David S. Barr, a long-time legal officer of the Guild.

More information from: http://www.newsguild.org/brounmay32006.php#awards