The board of directors of the 29-year-old Committee to Protect Journalists named Awramba Times editor Dawit Kedebe one of four recipients of this year’s International Press Freedom Award.
The New York-based organization, whose members are U.S. journalists working around the globe, has for the first time in its 14-year history of recognizing bravery among the world’s journalists selected an Ethiopian for the award announced last night. SDawir and three other journalists will receive their awards at a November 23 dinner ceremony in New York.
Dawit started the aggressive Amharic daily newspaper two years ago upon his release from Kaliti Prison in Addis. He spent approximately three years in prison along with many other journalists and leaders of political opposition after the violence of the 2005 election in Ethiopia. He spent much of his sentence locked in a communal cell with more than 300 others. Dawit was in prison longer than most of those arrested after the election.
The Awramba Times does not hesitate to criticize the government in a country where the government directly controls the dominant media and exerts a great deal of control over the few independent radio stations and print publications. The Committee to Protest Journalists describes his newspaper as “the country's only Amharic-language newspaper that dares question authorities.”
Dawit told the committee, "I am not an opposition. As a journalist, whatsoever would be a governing regime in Ethiopia, I will never hesitate from writing issues criticizing it for the betterment of the nation."
The other three recipients of the CPJ awards are Laureano Márquez of Venezuela, Mohammad Davari of Iran and Nadira Isayeva of Russia.
Listen in Amharic.