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Committee To Protect Journalists Prepares For 'Virtual' Press Freedom Awards

One of the award winners is Svetlana Prokopyeva, a freelance contributor to RFE/RL’s Russian Service.

The Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) has announced that it will present the winners of its 2020 International Press Freedom Award during an online ceremony on November 19.

The U.S.-based NGO earlier announced the four winners of the award, presented annually to individuals who have shown extraordinary achievement in the cause of press freedom, but decided to present the awards during a virtual online benefit due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the winners is Svetlana Prokopyeva, a prominent journalist in the western Russian city of Pskov who is a freelance contributor to RFE/RL’s Russian Service. The others are Mohammad Mosaed of Iran, Shahidul Alam of Bangladesh, and Dapo Olorunyomi of Nigeria.

In July, Prokopyeva was convicted of "justifying terrorism" over an article she wrote in November 2018 in which she discussed a bombing outside the Federal Security Service offices in the northern city of Arkhangelsk.

Prokopyeva denied the charges, saying she had been put on trial for doing her job, but was ordered to pay a fine of about 500,000 rubles (about $7,000).

In September, Iranian journalist Mosaed was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison after posting a tweet critical of the government's response to the coronavirus pandemic. CPJ described the ruling as a further attempt by the Iranian authorities to try to "suppress the truth."