Jailed Cuban journalist honoured in France

December 5th, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by IANS  

Paris, Dec 5 (IANS) Jailed Cuban journalist Ricardo Gonzalez Alfonso, one of 75 dissidents rounded up by Havana in 2003, has been named the recipient of Reporters Without Borders’ 2008 Journalist of the Year award, EFE reported Friday.He was recognized “for helping an independent press to survive in Cuba,” the Paris-based group, known as RSF, said in a statement Thursday.

“A reporter with the non-official Cuba Press and promoter of the independent magazine De Cuba, Alfonso embodies the difficulties that dissident media suffer at the hands of the island’s communist regime,” RSF secretary-general Jean-Fran├žois Julliard said.

From the Havana prison where he is serving a 20-year sentence, Gonzalez Alfonso managed to send a message via his wife that was read at the awards ceremony by his colleague and friend, Alejandro Gonzalez.

Gonzalez accepted the award on behalf of Alfonso from Iranian Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.

After dedicating the award to the 22 other reporters jailed in Cuba, Alfonso in his message reaffirmed their resolve to fight for a free press.

“This present is not the end of time, but only a prelude to a time when there will not be bars inside or outside,” he said through his colleague, who was released from a Cuban prison in February.

“My convictions have been strengthened by my captivity and I am sure that the peaceful struggle we launched is worth it. Despite the harsh conditions we endure, we will continue fighting for a Cuba with freedom of opinion,” he said.

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