Paris-based NGO nominated Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan, who was sentenced in December 2020 to four years in prison for reporting the health in Wuhan, showing the city's streets, hospitals and the harassment of the sick families
Paris: Paris-based non-governmental organisation, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), has nominated jailed Chinese journalist Zhang Zhan for the 2021 RSF Press Freedom Awards.
Lawyer-turned-journalist Zhang Zhan was sentenced in December 2020 to four years in prison for "picking quarrels and provoking trouble" while covering the initial Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan in February 2020, RSF said.
Despite constant threats from the authorities, she live-streamed video reports on YouTube, WeChat and Twitter, showing the city's streets and hospitals and the harassment of the sick families.
"Widely shared on social media, her reporting was one of the main sources of independent information about the health situation in Wuhan at the time. Arrested in May 2020, she was held incommunicado for several months without any official reason being provided and, when she went on a hunger strike, she ended up being shackled and force-fed," RSF said.
There is currently a great deal of concern that she could be subjected to further torture and ill-treatment, RSF said. Journalists and media outlets from 11 countries have been nominated for the awards given in three categories – journalistic courage, impact and independence.
The 12 nominees comprise six journalists, four women, and six media outlets or journalists' organisations. They include specialists in investigative journalism in countries where the right to information is drastically curtailed or is under threat – Belarus, China, Brazil, Turkey and Northern Ireland.
"The list of nominees for the 2021 Awards reflects the challenges facing journalists and media outlets engaged in a common battle for the freedom to inform," RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. The name of the winners will be released on November 18.