Ricardo Gonzalez Alfonso wins Reporters Without Borders award

Ricardo Gonzalez Alfonso has won Reporters Without Borders Journalist of the Year award for “helping an independent press to survive in Cuba”,

After daring to challenge to the state’s monopoly of news and information, González was arrested on 18 March 2003 along with 26 other dissident journalists during the crackdown known as the “Black Spring.” Accused of being “in the pay of the United States” and “undermining Cuba’s independence and territorial integrity,” he was given a 20-year prison sentence. He has been held in Havana’s Combinado del Este prison since late 2004, despite poor health. link

The 2008 Media prize goes to the Seoul-based Radio Free NK’s North Korean journalists “in order to pay tribute to their courage and determination”. Burmese bloggers Zarganar and Nay Phone Latt, are joint winners in the “Cyber-dissident” category. Zarganar, known as the “Burmese Charlie Chaplin”, denounced the junta on his blog until his arrest in June 2008. Nay Phone Lat, who has featured on this blog many times, was sentenced last month to 20 years and six months. He blogged during the Sapphron Revolution in September 2008.