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Akbar Ganji
Prominent Iranian journalist and dissident Akbar Ganji was today declared a World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute for his courageous journalistic work in Iran.

Ganji spent six years in prison in Iran for a 1999 series of articles on the government's ties to the systematic assassinations of intellectuals and dissidents in the 1980s and the '90s.

Ganji continued to write while in prison, and his best-selling book "The Dungeon of Ghosts" is credited with helping defeat of a number of conservative candidates in the 2000 elections.

He was released in 2006 and immediately left the country.

His first book in English, "The Road to Democracy in Iran," was published in 2008.
Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu
Minsk police have detained a young activist involved in a campaign that encourages Belarusians to speak out about social problems, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

Mikhas Bashura's lawyer, Tamara Sidarenka, told RFE/RL that her client was charged on August 7 with counterfeiting and distributing documents, stamps, and letterheads. She called the charges against him groundless.

Police in Minsk's Savetsky district have begun an investigation.

Fellow Tell the Truth campaign members visited Minsk's pretrial detention center to deliver food and basic toiletries to Bashura. They told RFE/RL that Bashura's arrest may be due to his participation in the campaign.

The Tell the Truth campaign has been organized by the Moving Forward movement, which is led by Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu. It encourages Belarusians to speak out about a range of social problems.

Members of the movement across the country collect information reported by the authorities that Tell the Truth deems to be false. The group's findings are posted on the website zapraudu.info.

Nyaklyaeu and two other Tell the Truth members were arrested in May following nationwide raids on the movement's offices and the homes of several members.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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