UNITED NATIONS, Dec. -- A committee to protect journalists worldwide announced Tuesday that five journalists from Russia, Guatemala, Indonesia, Ireland and Zambia have been selected to receive the International Press Freedom Award. The New York-based committee, making the announcement at the U.N. headquarters, said only four will receive the award Wednesday in a ceremony to be presided by well known American journalists and television personalities, including CNN chairman Ted Turner. The fifth journalist, Ahmad Taufik of Indonesia, is serving a 32- month jail sentence on a government's charge that he preached 'hatred of government officials.' He was charged also with publishing an unlicensed magazine of the Alliance of Independent Journalists, Indonesia's only free press union. Taufik was sentenced last August to the jail term after his prosecutors said he undermined the government of President Suharto. The committee said the recipients risked 'political persecution and personal hardship to defy attacks on the independent press in their countries.' 'This year's winners are on the front line of the battle to establish a free press around the world,' said William Orme, the committee's executive director. The committee said Russian Yevgeny Kiselyov, who co-founded NTV, led the struggle for a financially independent press despite pressure to present the government's propaganda to support its war against Chechnyan separatists. The editor-in-chief of Guatemala's 'Siglio 21,' Jose Ruben Zamora Marroquin, received death threats and violence for investigating human rights violations and corruption in the government. The committee said at least 70 Guatemalan reporters have been killed in the past 15 years because of their work.
Veronica Guerin, Ireland's leading investigative reporter, received death threats, was shot at and beaten, for her sustained reporting on criminal figures. Fred M'membe, the editor of Zambia's The Post, is facing a combined jail sentence of more than 100 years for covering high level government corruption and drug trafficking. The committee was founded in 1981 to promote press freedom globally and to monitor abuses against the press.