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Kazakh journalist wins Peter Mackler prize

10 august 2012, 12:06
0
Lukpan Akhmedyarov. Photo courtesy of lenta.ru
Lukpan Akhmedyarov. Photo courtesy of lenta.ru
An investigative journalist in Kazakhstan who survived an attempt on his life is this year's winner of the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism, AFP reports citing organizers.

In a statement, Global Media Forum and the US branch of Reporters Without Borders said Lukpan Akhmedyarov, 36, will be honored at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington on October 12.

A reporter for the Uralskaya Nedelya (Ural Week) newspaper who investigates corruption and human rights abuses, Akhmedyarov was stabbed and shot outside his apartment in Uralsk city in April in a murder attempt.

He spent a month in hospital recovering from his injuries, inflicted by two masked individuals.

"Mr Akhmedyarov has shown enormous courage in reporting on corruption in an authoritarian regime," said Camille Mackler, project director of the award and daughter of AFP journalist Peter Mackler, in whose memory it was established.

"That he continues to do so, after almost paying with his life for his commitment to journalistic integrity, makes us proud to name him this year's winner of the Peter Mackler Award," she added.

Kazakhstan ranks 154 out of 178 countries on Reporters Without Borders' 2011-2012 Press Freedom Index.

"Through Lukpan Akhmedyarov, we pay homage to the courage of all who continue to work independently to cover the news in Kazakhstan," said Christophe Deloire, director general of Reporters Without Borders.

"Working as an independent news source in this country has never been easy," he said. "Over the past twelve months, it has become more dangerous than ever. Lukpan's courage and dedication command respect."

The Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism was founded in June 2008 to honor the memory of Mackler, who died of a heart attack that month at the age of 58.

Mackler worked at AFP for more than 30 years. He also founded Global Media Forum, which has helped to train journalists and non-profit organizations to use the media as a tool for social change.

The prize rewards journalists who fight courageously and ethically to report the news in countries where freedom of the press is either not guaranteed or not recognized.

Previous recipients are Karla Rivas of Radio Progreso in Honduras in 2011, Ilya Barabanov of Novoye Vremya in Russia in 2010, and J.S. Tissainayagam of North Eastern Magazine in Sri Lanka in 2009.

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