Reporters Without Borders, an international organization dedicated to protecting freedom of the press and the rights of journalists, won the Asia Democracy and Human Rights Award, a prize set by the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy.
President Chen Shui-bian (
Lin Wen-cheng (林文程), the executive of the foundation, yesterday announced the winner of the award, which was created this year to honor individuals or organizations that contribute to human rights and democracy in Asia.
Reporters Without Borders is the first organization to receive this honor, which comes with a US$100,000 prize and a medal.
Lin said that a total of 20 individuals and organizations -- including Chinese activists and academic groups from southeastern countries -- competed for the award. He said that to avoid controversy the foundation could not reveal the names of the competitors.
Lin said that Reporters Without Borders obtained votes from Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian human rights activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, Bernard Kouchner, the co-founder of Doctors Without Borders and former director of France's Department of Health, and Huang Qi (黃琦), the founder of China's first Web site promoting human rights.
"Although Reporters Without Borders is not an organization based in Asia, it devotes itself to encouraging freedom of the press and protecting human rights and personal security of journalists in the world. Its work extends to the human rights movement in China and has made outstanding accomplishments in rescuing human rights activists who were persecuted or jailed," Lin said.
The organization has branches all over the world and works in close cooperation with advocates of freedom of the press.
The Taiwan Foundation for Democracy is a non-profit and semi-official organization dedicated to the promotion of democracy and human rights in Taiwan and abroad.
Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-Pyng (王金平) serves as the chairman of the foundation and Minister of Foreign Affairs James Huang (黃志芳) is the vice chairman.
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