Reporter jailed by China wins liberty award

Click to follow
The first Unesco World Press Freedom prize will today be awarded to a Chinese woman journalist still in prison.

Gao Yu, a freelance journalist, was detained in 1993 for "leaking state secrets" about Chinese political reforms in Mirror Monthly, a pro-Peking Hong Kong magazine. She has two years to serve. Her award will be collected by Timothy Baldwin, director-general of the World Association of Newspapers, at a ceremony in Bilbao.

Today is World Press Freedom day, the anniversary of the 1991 Declaration of Windhoek drawn up by African journalists to demand a free, independent and pluralistic media throughout the African continent and the world.

The World Association of Newspapers is using today to draw attention to the importance of a free press as a barometer of democracy, to the large number of journalists currently in prison and to the fact only one- third of the world's countries have a truly free media.

In the last 10 years more than 500 journalists have been killed on duty and 180 journalists are known to be in prison, 16 of them in China, including Gao Yu.

From today, The Independent will carry a monthly barometer of press freedom prepared by Reporters Sans Frontieres.