Peter Arnett

The winner of the 7th Annual NPC Freedom of the Press Award, International Category, predicted at the Freedom of Information Day Luncheon March 15 [1995] that his country "will prosper only if it becomes a good world citizen." Abdulaziz al-Saqqaf, founder, publisher, and editor of the Yemen Times , was honored by the Club for his courage in contradicting official government reports that northern troops opened fire first in the civil war that began in May, 1994. As result of his work, he was imprisoned and beaten. He added that Yemen today is moving along in the right direction. Dr. al-Saqqaf revealed, as the first born son in his father's family, he would have become a bricklayer like his father had he not received a Fulbright scholarship from the U.S. government. The Fulbright enabled him to earn a graduate degree from Harvard in economics.

Co-winners in the domestic category of the awards were David DeKok of the Harrisburg, PA, Patriot News, who uncovered the largest insurance fraud in Pennsylvania history that affected 16,000 policyholders, and John Walcott and Brian Duffy of U.S. News & World Report for their expose of the flagrant abuses at the CIA by its Operations Directorate, the agency's elite clandestine service.

Peter Arnett, winner of NPC's 4th Estate Award in 1991 for his reporting from Baghdad on the Persian Gulf War, discussed freedom of the press at the luncheon. He remembered how four years ago he had body bgcolor="#FFFFFF"guards at the luncheon, conservative pickets protested his appearance with signs saying "Baghdad Pete," and he had been threatened with phone calls and hate mail. Arnett questioned if U.S. journalists are "doing enough to assist our colleagues abroad." Referring to the annual report of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Arnett said, "our colleagues in at least 23 countries are more likely to be thrown in jail for journalistically challenging their government" and that 58 had been murdered for their reporting in 1994. He described the efforts of several organizations which are helping overseas journalists advance the cause of a free press in their countries: the Committee to Protect Journalists, which monitors international events and the suppression of reporters; the Freedom Forum, with its 11 computer equipped libraries abroad, with superb databases; the Knight Fellowships, which send U.S. journalists overseas on sabbaticals to teach journalists in Africa and elsewhere; the International Media Foundation in Eastern Europe, that has helped the press in former Communist countries; and CNN, which Arnett said assists new broadcasters in developing writing and editing skills, management practices, advertising and salesmanship. Arnett, a CNN correspondent, said CNN offers a program, "World Report," which offers six hours a week of news from 150 broadcasters from 115 countries around the world. National Press Club Record Volume XLV, No. 11, March 23, 1995

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