World pressmen honour jailed Chinese journalist

Sowetan Reporter

Sowetan Reporter

A Chinese journalist serving a 10-year prison sentence for revealing his government's orders to newspapers to censor their reporting of the Tiananmen Square massacre anniversary has been awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom, the yearly press freedom prize from the World Association of Newspapers.

The award to Shi Tao, 38, who was imprisoned after the American search engine Yahoo! provided information to the Chinese authorities that led to his arrest, was made yesterday, the 18th anniversary of the massacre.

"Even today, most Chinese know nothing about what happened that day. The communist regime continues to prevent the Chinese media from talking and writing about it openly and honestly and will go to great lengths to silence any such revelations and to severely punish those who make them," said George Brock, president of the World Editors Forum, who presented the award in Cape Town.

"Shi Tao, whom we are honouring here today, has learned this to his own great cost. He revealed what the state did not want known and he pays the price in prison today," he said.

The award was accepted by Shi's mother, Gao Qinsheng, who said her son was "a direct victim of the shackles of press freedom".