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Belarus's Barysevich Wins CPJ's Press Freedom Award

Katsyaryna Barysevich shows her prison label to colleagues upon her release from the prison in Komarovka on May 19.

Katsyaryna Barysevich of Belarus is among four "courageous" journalists from around the world to receive the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) 2021 International Press Freedom Awards.

The New York-based media-freedom watchdog said on June 15 it will honor the "commitment and sacrifice" of Barysevich and journalists from Guatemala, Mozambique, and Burma, also known as Myanmar, for having reported "during a historically turbulent time, covering protests and political upheaval in their countries."

"In the midst of a battle over the control of information, these journalists are on the side of the people, covering events, informing communities, and ensuring accountability," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in a statement.

Barysevich, along with Anastasia Mejia (Guatemala), Matias Guente (Mozambique), and Aye Chan Naing (Burma) "have paid a price, confronting violence, harassment, repression, and persecution but refusing to back down."

Barysevich is a correspondent for the Belarusian popular outlet, whose staff members are facing detentions and harassment by the authorities amid a brutal crackdown on dissent and media following a disputed presidential election in August.

She has spent six months behind bars for her reporting on the death of a protester, Raman Bandarenka, during an unprecedented wave of open opposition to authoritarian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

Barysevich's articles included medical details that contradicted official claims that Bandarenka was drunk at the time of his death.

The winners of the 2021 International Press Freedom Awards will be honored during an annual ceremony in New York on November 18.

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