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102 Journalists Have Been Killed In 2012
December 6, 2012
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According to Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), 102 journalists have been killed around the world so far this year. 32 of them died in Syria.

The killings have continued in recent days.

On December 4, Naji Assaad, a journalist with the state-run Tishreen newspaper, was killed in Syria. And in November alone, 13 journalists were killed in the country, according to the Syrian Journalists Association (SJA).

And a journalist in the North Caucasus was killed last night, likely in connection with his work, according to investigators there. Kazbek Gekkiyev, 28, was a correspondent and host for state-owned Vesti KBR.

In February of this year, French photojournalist Remi Olchik and Marie Colvin of the Sunday Times were both killed during an assault in Homs, Syria.

Their deaths highlight the risks that journalists face in reporting on war, corruption, culture, crime and human rights.

And each year, CJFE celebrates some of the journalists who risk their safety - and sometimes their lives - to deliver accurate news reporting.

Last night, the CJFE Awards were handed out at an event called 'A Night to Honour Courageous Reporting.'

Here are this year's winners.

The International Press Freedom Award

The International Press Freedom Award went to two journalists who have displayed exceptional bravery in their efforts to get the story.

Rami Jarrah is one recipient of the Press Freedom Award. He was arrested and tortured by authorities for three days over his citizen journalism in Syria in early 2011. After his release, Jarrah quit his job at a technology distribution company so he could work full-time to expose the political situation in Syria.

He is now based in Cairo, where he co-produces ANA News Media Association, an independent citizen press group that helps train and support a network of journalists in Syria.

The other winner of the Press Freedom Award is Mae Azango, who faced death threats after she reported on female circumcision rituals in Liberia.

Azango is a reporter at daily newpaper and website 'FrontPage Africa'. She published a story about female genital cutting in March, 2012, drawing death threats that forced Azango and her daughter into hiding.

She continued to report for 'FrontPage Africa' and 'Foreign Policy' magazine while in hiding, and now, thanks to pressure from global advocacy groups, she has returned home, where she remains committed to exposing the hardships women and girls face in Liberia.

Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award

'Enquète', an award-winning investigative TV show on Radio-Canada, won the Tara Singh Hayer Memorial Award. The Award is named for the former editor of 'Indo-Canadian Times', who was murdered in Surrey BC in 1998 after testifying in the Air India bombing trial.

The 'Enquète' team won the award for their work exposing widespread corruption and Mafia involvement in the Quebec construction industry.

While working on the story, the team faced pressure and direct threats from members of the business community, the criminal underworld, and the government of Quebec. They pushed ahead anyway, and maintained their journalistic imperative.

Vox Libera Award

danHenry1.jpgThe Vox Libera Award is given to a Canadian who has made an important and sustained contribution to free expression at home or abroad. This year's winner is media lawyer Dan Henry, who the CJFE says "embodies the spirit of this award. His passion for media freedom and the public's right to know has been demonstrated time and time again throughout his illustrious career."

Henry has worked on many of the most significant cases in Canadian media law, and CBC journalist Linden MacIntyre says "I've never seen him shrink from risk where he believed that the journalism was responsible, fair, and true."

And John Gordon Miller, a former senior editor at The Toronto Star, wrote on his blog, "It's hard to think of another Canadian who has done more to peel back the legal restraints to good journalism, or to get good journalism on the air, than Henry."

Last night's event also featured a series of candid, powerful photos taken by Serbian photographer Goran Tomasevic in Aleppo, Syria, and shots from the streets of Tehran by Iranian-born Canadian photographer Kiana Hayeri.

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The exhibit is called 'What You Don't Know Can Hurt You', and it's intended to take people "beyond the headlines, the stereotypes and political rhetoric to show the reality of daily life."

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Tomasevic is a veteran Reuters photographer and Hayeri is an independent photographer working in Tehran.

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The photos were unveiled last night at the awards gala.

Related:

DYING TO TELL THEIR STORIES: The International Day to End Impunity

Iranian Journalist To Receive 2011 World Press Freedom Prize

Outspoken Critic of Rwandan Government Murdered

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