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Cyril Almeida Named 71st World Press Freedom Hero

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Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida has been named 71st World Press Freedom Hero by the International Press Institute (IPI).

The award will be presented to him on June 5 in Geneva, Switzerland for covering the civil-military huddle in 2016 that raised national controversy. Almeida has been recognised for his ‘critical’ and ‘tenacious coverage’ of civil-military relations in Pakistan.

Almeida is the second Pakistan to receive the award. Previously, former Pakistan Press International (PPI) managing director Aslam Ali was presented the award.

Cyril Almeida has demonstrated tremendous resolve in tackling – at great risk to himself – deeply contentious issues that are nevertheless of central importance to Pakistan’s democracy,” IPI executive director Barbra Trionfi said.

“Almeida’s scrutiny of the Pakistani military-security complex has made both him and Dawn a target,” the Vienna-based IPI said.

In 2016, Almeida was briefly placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) after publishing an exclusive story in Dawn regarding a top-level meeting of civil-military leaders. Later, he filed an exclusive interview with ex-PM Nawaz Sharif, which stirred controversy too.

Almeida expressed gratitude over being presented the award. “I am grateful to the IPI-IMS jury for its acknowledgment of the fight to preserve and protect media freedom in Pakistan,” Almeida was quoted as saying by IPI.

Taking to Twitter, the journalist said that the award belonged more the Dawn’s editor, Zaffar Abbas.

“In truth, the hero is Zaffar Abbas, Editor, Dawn who has unflinchingly fought for his paper and his staff in the face of significant coercion, intimidation and threats- much more so than is publicly known. Keep up the good fight, Ed Sahab. Pakistan belongs to everyone.”

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