Tibetan monk among Reporters Without Borders’ 100 Information Heroes

DHARAMSHALA: Jigme Gyatso, a Tibetan monk from Golog in north-eastern Tibet, who is facing possible death sentence for helping filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen for the documentary ‘Leaving Fear Behind’, was among 100 information heroes honoured by Reporters Without Borders, ahead of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.

Jigme Gyatso, who assisted film-maker Dhondup Wangchen, for his documentary film ‘Leaving Fear Behind’ in 2008. (File Photo)

Jigme Gyatso, who assisted film-maker Dhondup Wangchen, for his documentary film ‘Leaving Fear Behind’ in 2008. (File Photo)

Jigme Gyatso also known as Golog Jigme, was first arrested in 2008 after he assisted Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen for the Documentary film ‘Leaving Fear Behind’ ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He was sentenced to seven months’ imprisonment, and was severely beaten and tortured. He was released in October 2008.

However, Jigme Gyatso was re-arrested by Chinese authorities in 2012. He faces a possible death sentence after Chinese police issued arrest warrants against him for a fabricated murder charge. He is believed to be under secret detention by Chinese authorities since September 2012 and was not heard from since then.

The powerful 25-minute documentary film consists of interviews with 108 ordinary Tibetans who expressed their views of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and longed to bring Tibetan voices to the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. The film documents the brutalities of the Chinese government and the Tibetan people’s wish to tell the world of their plight and their heartfelt grievances against Chinese rule. It was secretly screened in Beijing on the opening day of the Olympic Games in 2008 before being shown throughout the world.

Also included in the lists of 100 Information Heroes are Oudom Tat, a Cambodian reporter who has been subjected to repeated attacks for exposing rights abuses in Cambodia; Anabel Hernandez, who broke a story that led to a major investigation into embezzlement at the highest levels of government in Mexico; Hamid Mir, a Pakistani TV anchor and reporter who was shot several times by men on motor cycles in April this year, etc.

“The list was compiled by Reporters Without Borders, a global media watchdog, to pay tributes to the courage of the journalists and bloggers, who constantly sacrifice their safety and sometimes their lives to their vocation,” said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire in a statement.

“Through their courageous work or activism, these “100 heroes” help to promote the freedom enshrined in article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the freedom to “to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers,” he said.

The ‘World Press Freedom Day’, which Reporters Without Borders helped to create is being marked across the world on 3 May. The United Nations General Assembly declared it to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression.