“Put all of the material you have onto the web in Chinese” – this was the plea of former Golden Pen of Freedom winner Gao Yu, as relayed by World Editors Forum president George Brock to delegates.
According to Brock, freelance Chinese journalist Yu, who won the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) accolade in 1995, said this was the single most useful thing the international media could do to improve freedom of speech and the press in China.
This year’s Golden Pen was awarded to another Chinese journalist: deputy news editor of the Fuzhou Daily Li Chongqing – the second in two years following 2007 winner Shi Tao.
Chongqing was denied a passport to attend the ceremony, while Tao remains in prison serving a ten year sentence on charges of ‘leaking state secrets’.
According to WAN, China remains the biggest jailer of journalists with 30 journalists and 50 cyber-dissidents currently imprisoned.