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Imprisoned Cuban journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez has been named a recipient of a 2008 International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists. He and other recipients will be honored in November at a dinner in New York.
"These are the front-line reporters who risk their lives and their liberty to bring the news not only to the people of their own countries but to a global audience," said CPJ Board Chairman Paul Steiger. "Their courage and determination have expanded the world's knowledge in critically important ways."
"Our award winners embody what CPJ stands for—the right of journalists everywhere to report the news as they see it," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said. "We honor them and stand behind them and their colleagues as they strive to keep all of us informed."
Maseda's experience embodies not just the best of independent Cuban journalism but of all journalism. This award will highlight the contributions of all Cuban journalists and hopefully draw attention to the reality they all struggle mightily to report, whether from the streets or from behind bars.
This is what CPJ wrote about Maseda:
Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez was part of Cuba's flourishing independent press movement when he was arrested and jailed along with 28 other journalists in Fidel Castro's massive crackdown on political dissidents in March 2003. The following month, Maseda Gutiérrez was sentenced to 20 years in prison for acting "against the independence or the territorial integrity of the state." Maseda Gutiérrez began working as an independent journalist in 1995. He later founded, along with veteran journalist Manuel Vázquez Portal, the independent news agency Grupo de Trabajo Decoro, which published reports critical of Cuba in foreign media. Maseda Gutiérrez delved into social problems in Cuba and began to write long investigative pieces, including a series on the brutality and human right violations in Cuban prisons published shortly before his arrest. At age 65, Maseda Gutiérrez is the oldest of 22 journalists still behind bars in Cuba today. He managed to write his memoir, Enterrados Vivos (Buried Alive),smuggling the manuscript out one page at a time. The book was published in the United States in 2007.
Read more about him, here.
And go here for information about all of Cuba's imprisoned journalists.