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Ilya Barabanov

October 22, 2010

Ilya Barabonov speaks about the Omon investigation on Press Center TV ‘Glasnost Territory’ program. (March 16, 2010) Watch the interview on YouTube

Global Media Forum and the US branch of Reporters Without Borders are pleased to announce that Russian journalist Ilya Barabanov, targeted by his government for exposing official corruption, has been selected as the 2010 winner of the Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism.

Barabanov will be awarded the prize at a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, DC on October 22, 2010. Last year’s winner, Sri Lankan journalist and editor J.S. Tissainayagam, will speak at the presentation.

Ilya Barabanov is deputy editor of Novoye Vremya (New Times,) an opposition news weekly in Russia which has been the target of an attempted illegal search and a lawsuit by the Russian government. Barabanov, 24, has decried the aborted search & seizure of The New Times editorial offices . He charged that the search, carried out in connection with a case filed against the news weekly by the Russian interior minister’s OMON security forces, violated Articles 41 and 49 of the Russian Media Law.

The New Times had previously published an article citing unnamed OMON sources and describing corrupt practices within OMON.

Camille J. Mackler, Project Director for the Peter Mackler Award, said that “Barabanov, a young journalist, has displayed enormous courage in standing up for journalistic independence and the Russian people’s right to free and balanced news. These character traits are what the Peter Mackler Award seeks to encourage and reward.”

The plight of journalists in Russia continues to be a concern of the international community.

Barabanov’s nomination comes amid growing accusations of internet censorship and government intimidation of journalists. In addition, the murders of journalists Natalia Estemirova and Anna Politkovskaya, remain unsolved.

We are delighted to know this award goes to Ilya Barabanov”, Jean-François Julliard, Secretary General of Reporters Without Borders said. “Being a journalist in Russia is one of the toughest jobs around. Russian journalists need to be supported and recognized worldwide for the work they do. Ilya’s talent, courage and persistence are essential to Russian journalism.”

Reporters Without Borders ranked Russia 153rd out of 175 countries in their 2009 Press Freedom Index.