Former Graphic EIC shortlisted for international award

Veteran journalist Inday Espina-Varona was shortlisted for the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2018 Press Freedom Awards.

Espina-Varona, former editor-in-chief of the Philippines Graphic magazine, was nominated for the international award’s independence category. She is among the nominees from 12 countries that have been shortlisted for three international awards.

The prestigious awards ceremony will take place in the fitting setting of the Getty Images Gallery in London’s Fitzrovia. Lindsey Hilsum, Channel 4 New’s Chief International Editor, will present the ceremony.

Established in 1992, previous winners of the awards include the renowned late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, courageous Syrian journalist Zaina Erhaim, and embattled Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet.

The event will be held on Nov. 18.

“This year’s shortlist reflects the challenges faced by brave journalists across the world. All of the nominees for our Press Freedom Awards courageously fight back against forces that would prefer journalism didn’t exist, from online mobs to organized crime and authoritarian governments,” said Christophe Deloire, secretary general of RSF.

Espina-Varona is now a contributing editor at ABS-CBN. Over the years, she has reported extensively on issues that are sensitive in the Philippines, such as child prostitution, violence against women, LGBT issues and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the island of Mindanao. In June 2018, she was among the founders #BabaeAko (“Me, a woman” in Tagalog), a social media campaign that informs and mobilizes the public on women’s rights issues.

International nominees include Matthew Caruana Galizia, the Maltese journalist and activist whose mother, Daphne Caruana Galizia, was assassinated in 2017 following her investigations into corruption; Paolo Borometti, the Italian journalist and expert on the Sicilian mafia whose murder plot was foiled by Italian police; Swati Chaturvedi, the Indian journalist and author of the book “I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the BJP’s Digital Army;” and Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the Ghanaian undercover reporter who now lives in hiding after his revelations about bribery shook the African football world.

This year’s awards were selected by a high-profile international jury, including notable figures such as Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi and Chinese activist Wu’er Kaixi – both RSF emeritus board members – as well as RSF President Pierre Haski. RSF’s UK advisory board – including Fleet Street legend Eve Pollard, former Director of BBC News James Harding, and Channel 4 News Anchor Jon Snow – selected the winner of the special ‘L’esprit de RSF’ prize.

Rebecca Vincent, RSF UK Bureau Director said: “Recognizing great journalism is important, not least because it sends a message of solidarity, proving that there is an international community will stand up for the free media no matter where it is threatened, or by whom.”




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