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Reporters Without Borders, "Le Monde," and TV5Monde have awarded their annual Press Freedom Prize to the Afghan daily "8Sobh" and Syrian journalist Mazen Darwish.

The prize committee paid tribute to the daily "8Sobh" as "living evidence that freely-reported quality journalism can develop in the most difficult corners of the planet.”

It honored Darwish, who has been imprisoned since February, for "displaying extraordinary courage in the face of danger."

"8Sobh" editor in chief Parwiz Kawa told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that journalists in Afghanistan faced threats and intimidation both from officials and the Taliban.

Since 1992, Reporters Without Borders has been honoring journalists and news media across the world for the defense and promotion of press freedom.
Nasrin Sotoudeh (left) and Jafar Panahi
Iran has criticized the European Parliament for awarding a human rights prize to two Iranian dissidents.

The European Parliament in October awarded the 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and filmmaker Jafar Panahi, citing their courage in defending fundamental liberties in the face of oppression by the Iranian regime.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted on December 16 as accusing the EU of having "political" goals in giving the prize to Iranians.

Mehmanparast accused the EU of having a "selective" view of human rights, saying the bloc should focus on rights shortcomings inside the EU.

Sotoudeh is serving a six-year jail sentence for spreading propaganda and conspiring against state security.

Panahi has been held under house arrest since December 2010 on charges of engaging in antigovernment propaganda.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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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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