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International Press Freedom Award for Dhondup Wangchen PDF Print E-mail
[14 September 2012] The Committee to Protect Journalists has announced that Tibetan film-maker Dhondup Wangchen is one of four journalists to be honoured at the 2012 International Press Freedom Awards in November. Dhondup Wangchen was sentenced to six years in prison by the Chinese authorities for making the film Leaving Fear Behind in 2008.

Dhondup WangchenThe International Press Freedom Award is given annually by the US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in recognition of courageous reporting. The 2012 recipients were announced on 13 September and were Dhondup Wangchen (pictured right), Mauri Knig (from Brazil), Mae Azango (Liberia) and Azimjon Askarov (Kyrgyzstan) all of whom have faced severe reprisals for their work, including assault, threats, imprisonment and torture.

CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said, "We are inspired by these journalists who have paid a high price for their enduring dedication to the truth. Two - Azimjon Askarov and Dhondup Wangchen - have actually been arrested and jailed for their critical reporting. We will not rest until they are free."

Lhamo Tso, Dhondup Wangchen's wife, said, "I am very happy that my husband's works receives this amount of international acknowledgement. It is for the family a bit of a solace knowing that my husband has not been forgotten by good-hearted people around the world."

Gyaljong Tsetrin, Dhondup Wangchen's cousin and President of Filming for Tibet, the organisation that produced Leaving Fear Behind from footage smuggled out of Tibet, said, "This award highlights [Dhondup's] commitment to bringing the voices of ordinary Tibetans, who are suffering under Chinese occupation and longing for freedom, to the fore in 2008, which came at enormous personal cost."

The winners will be honored at CPJ's annual awards dinner in New York City on 20 November 2012.

Further reading: CPJ I Filming for Tibet

In early 2008 Dhondup Wangchen travelled around Tibet interviewing Tibetans asking them for their thoughts and views on the upcoming Beijing Olympics, the Dalai Lama and Chinese government policies in Tibet. He was arrested on 26 March 2008 and tortured whilst awaiting trial. Dhondup was charged with "inciting separatism" and "subversion of state power" and on 28 December 2009, following a closed trial, given a six-year prison sentence. Dhondup is currently in Xichuan prison in Qinghai province. There are concerns over Dhondup's health.

Prior to Dhondup's arrest footage was smuggled out of Tibet, which was eventually turned into the 25 minute film Leaving Fear Behind.

Take Action  Further details  I  Watch Leaving Fear Behind online

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