Scene: Jon Stewart’s Egyptian Twin, Buzzfeed in Black-Tie

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show," and Bassem Youssef, a cardiac surgeon turned broadcast satirist in Egypt.

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Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show," and Bassem Youssef, a cardiac surgeon turned broadcast satirist in Egypt. Close

Jon Stewart, host of "The Daily Show," and Bassem Youssef, a cardiac surgeon turned broadcast satirist in Egypt.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Janet Hinostroza, a broadcast journalist in Ecuador, with her daughter, Paula Murgueytio. Close

Janet Hinostroza, a broadcast journalist in Ecuador, with her daughter, Paula Murgueytio.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Janet Hinostroza, honored for her journalism in Ecuador, Joel Simon, executive director of Committee to Protect Journalists, Arianna Huffington, chairman of the AOL Huffington Post Media Group, and Bassem Youssef, honored for his satiric news program in Egypt. Close

Janet Hinostroza, honored for her journalism in Ecuador, Joel Simon, executive director of Committee to Protect... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed Inc., Mark Schoofs, as of Jan. 1, 2014, the investigations editor at Buzzfeed, Chris Geidner, a legal editor at Buzzfeed, and Miriam Elder, foreign editor at Buzzfeed, which has staff in Cairo, Istanbul, soon in Nairobi, and "one floating around in the former Soviet Union." Close

Ben Smith, editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed Inc., Mark Schoofs, as of Jan. 1, 2014, the investigations editor at Buzzfeed,... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Nedim Sener, an investigative journalist with the Turkish daily Posta, and his wife, Vecide Sener, whom he met crossing the street in Istanbul. Nedim Sener has spent more than a year in jail and faces more time; he is the author of a book on the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink. Close

Nedim Sener, an investigative journalist with the Turkish daily Posta, and his wife, Vecide Sener, whom he met... Read More

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Tiffany Galvin and Jake Siewart of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. communications team. Close

Tiffany Galvin and Jake Siewart of the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. communications team.

Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

Paul Steiger, founding editor-in-chief of ProPublica, and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, a writer and expert on landmarks of New York. Close

Paul Steiger, founding editor-in-chief of ProPublica, and Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel, a writer and expert on... Read More

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Steven Newhouse of the family that owns Advance Publications, and Wendy Brandes, jewelry designer and wife of Paul Steiger. Close

Steven Newhouse of the family that owns Advance Publications, and Wendy Brandes, jewelry designer and wife of Paul Steiger.

Last night Jon Stewart showed off his Arabic -- or rather, his ability to make up Arabic-sounding phrases on the spot.

“Mush Malacha,” he said in the Waldorf Astoria ballroom on a break from his chocolate cake.

His dining companion and fellow satirical broadcaster, Egyptian Bassem Youssef, said he didn’t understand -- in his best New Jersey accent.

“We’re learning how to caricature each other,” Stewart said.

The friends were together for the Committee to Protect Journalists annual benefit, where Stewart presented Youssef with an International Press Freedom Award. On Nov. 1, Egyptian satellite television channel Capital Broadcast Center shut down Youssef’s show.

“So it turns out the new regime in Egypt has less of a sense of humor than the Muslim Brotherhood,” Stewart said.

The Comedy Central show host also directed a zinger at CBS News, which yesterday put “60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan on a leave of absence for not properly vetting a source in a story.

“I just want to assure them that I am who I say who I am,” Stewart said. “Is there a committee to protect comedians?”

That kind of humor, in a room full of new and old rivals including Buzzfeed Inc., Vice, NBC News, and the New York Times, was welcome during an event in which the main storyline was the gravity of defending journalists’ press freedom outside the U.S.

“A whole society can be forgotten simply because no one is left to tell its stories,” said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director, speaking of CPJ’s annual counts of murdered journalists.

Democratic Journalism

“There is no democracy without journalism,” said Scott Pelley, anchor of the CBS Evening News, who served as emcee.

Pelley, Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, and Jonathan Klein, co-founder and chief executive of Getty Images Inc., presented the International Press Freedom Awards to three journalists in addition to Youssef.

Janet Hinostroza of Ecuador took a leave of absence from her show after receiving anonymous phone calls threatening her safety; she feared for her children.

Blogger Nguyen Van Hai is serving a second term in prison in Vietnam. Nedim Sener, an investigative journalist with Turkish daily Posta, spent more than a year in jail accused by the Turkish government of being a terrorist.

Inspiring Reporters

“We’re starting to hire foreign correspondents and we thought it would be inspiring for our reporters to hear these stories,” said Ben Smith, the editor-in-chief of Buzzfeed, one of the newer purchasers of a table.

“This is the organization that looks out for journalists in peril -- there’s no one else like it,” said Jake Siewart, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) global head of corporate communications. Goldman had a table, as did Credit Suisse AG, which brought along Fred Terrell, vice chairman of investment banking.

Signs in hand-written calligraphy identified the tables and the dress code was black tie. Buzzfeed’s Smith wore one, its legal editor Chris Geidner did not. “I don’t own a tuxedo,” Geidner said.

Paul Steiger, founding editor-in-chief of ProPublica and a CPJ board member, expressed alarm at “excessive government secrecy” in the U.S. as documented in a CPJ report last month. He also said the changing media industry puts pressure on CPJ.

Freelance Help

“We need a hand to help get us through this transition,” he said, “where there are more people CPJ needs to be there for who don’t work for big news organizations. They’re bloggers, freelancers.” Steiger was honored with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award.

Google Inc., Conde Nast Publications Inc., and public relations firms Brunswick Group, RLM Finsbury, and Abernathy MacGregor had tables, as did Bloomberg LP, whose president and chief executive, Daniel Doctoroff, was dinner chairman.

Tables cost $10,000 to $50,000, said CPJ spokesman Magnus Ag. Donations made during the event brought the total raised to $1.85 million, said CPJ chairman Sandra Mims Rowe.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Gordon in New York at agordon01@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net

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