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May 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, the National Press Club announced the winners of its 2013 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Awards:
Zeynep Kuray, a woman reporter from
Turkey, which jails more journalists than any other nation; and, in
the United States, "The Whistleblower."
Each year, the NPC confers its Aubuchon award on people whose work and lives have advanced the cause of press freedom and transparency. The annual award goes to one domestic recipient and one international one.
This year, for the first time, the Club is honoring a group of people—whistleblowers--rather than an individual person.
Angela Greiling Keane, a Bloomberg News reporter, said: "By conferring its domestic award on The Whistleblower, the Club is not only honoring those who have bravely stepped forward to become sources for news stories, often at personal risk to themselves or their careers. It is also recognizing a person whose identity is not yet known—who may be trying to decide whether to speak to a reporter about wrongdoing at a government agency or corporation. In honoring The Whistleblower, the Club is acknowledging that, without sources, reporters can't do their jobs and our democracy can't properly function."
The decision to honor The Whistleblower is also a way of highlighting the extent to which people who speak to the press are increasingly under siege. The threats to sources run along a spectrum. On the lower end, they include a growing tendency to forbid officials and executives from speaking with reporters on the record or on background without handlers present. On the higher end, they include government attempts to prosecute whistleblowers under espionage laws and to try to compel reporters to disclose confidential sources. Sources are increasingly at risk because of the ease with which digital communications can be monitored.