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Jailed Zimbabwe journalist Honored by Black Journalists group

May 2, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. April 30, 2009 -- The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced that Anderson Shadreck Manyere, a freelance photojournalist in Zimbabwe, will receive the organization′s 2009 Percy Qoboza Award at its Salute to Excellence Gala on August 8, in Tampa.

"The unjust detention of journalists is a violation of freedom of the press and the international community must raise its voice in condemnation," said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. "In recognizing the bravery and courage of Anderson, we are calling attention to the plight of many imprisoned journalists across Africa and the world."

Manyere was held in a Zimbabwe prison from Dec. 13, 2008 to April 17,
2009 charged with alleged acts of banditry, sabotage and terrorism according to reports. Held alongside Manyere was former broadcast journalist Jestina Mukoko. The Committee to Protect Journalists, the International Freedom of Expression Exchange and other international organizations repeatedly called for the release of the journalists, whose lawyers say they were tortured while held in custody.

"With this award, NABJ has a unique opportunity to work with partners pushing to protect journalists on the continent to see something happen that′s positive in Zimbabwe," said John Yearwood, co-chair of NABJ′s World Affairs Task Force.

With the recent formation of a coalition government in Zimbabwe for the first time in thirty years, strongman Robert Mugabe will share power with Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister. The minister of press and information is also a member of the opposition and has discussed reviewing the cases of journalists.

"We have waited for a long time for an opening like this and we wanted to move swiftly to take advantage of this opportunity," said Yearwood.
"We can only hope that with this award to Mr. Manyere that we can see some positive change in Zimbabwe, positive change that has been way too long overdue."

The Percy Qoboza Award, named for a South African journalist, is given to a foreign journalist who has done extraordinary work while overcoming tremendous obstacles that contributes to the enrichment, understanding or advancement of people or issues in the African diaspora.
The NABJ Convention is the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country. Both recognitions will take place at the 2009 NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair in Tampa, Fla. Aug. 5 – 9.

An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, with more than 4,100 members, and provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.

For more information contact:
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)
Phone: 301-445-7100

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