U.S. Secretary of State Praises ICFJ Award Winners as “Truth-Tellers in a Noble Cause”

Nov 72013
  • In a special tribute video for the International Center for Journalists' Awards Dinner, Secretary of State John Kerry said that ICFJ's 2013 honorees "are exceptional journalists who exemplify that special brand of courage in reporting."

Secretary of State John Kerry singled out three “exceptional” journalists for demonstrating “that special brand of courage in reporting” in an exclusive video for the International Center for Journalists Awards Dinner. He praised them as “truth-tellers in a noble cause.”

Thanks to Russian investigative reporter Roman Anin, Kerry said, we now have a “deeper appreciation of corruption in Russia and its debilitating effects across borders.”

Kerry said Pakistani journalist Umar Cheema “set a new standard for courage and quality investigative reporting in Pakistan, exposing corruption and abuse of power, and at great personal risk.”

And he praised NBC News’ Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel for his “unparalleled grit and tenacity” in covering the “tumultuous situations in Egypt, Libya and Syria.”

“I’m proud of the difference that you are making today,” Kerry said. “We stand in solidarity with journalists the world over, those who have lost their lives and sacrificed their freedom to promote the freedom of others and those who continue in that struggle.”

Kerry said he witnessed his “first sense of trying to tell truth to power” as a Vietnam veteran who protested the war in the 1970s. Pro-war supporters argued that he should stand by his country “right or wrong.” Kerry thought otherwise. “When right, keep it right,” he said. “And when wrong, make it right.”

“That’s exactly what journalists and the free press can and continue to do,” he added. “They go out and they try to make it right.”

At the dinner, Washington’s premier international media event, Cheema and Anin received ICFJ’s Knight International Journalism Award. Engel was the recipient of the Excellence in International Reporting Award.