Women worldwide are fighting for the truth.
A Tibetan poet and blogger who stares down the Chinese government; a Tanzanian freelance reporter who risks her life to defend the lives of her albino brothers and sisters; a Colombian radio reporter who investigates an unsolved political murder despite threats and exile are the recipients of the 2010 IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards.
Tsering Woeser is an award-winning Tibetan writer, poet and blogger. Through her blogs, tweets, Facebook and Skype, she has given public expression to the reality of Tibet. A child of the Cultural Revolution, she was educated in Chinese, never learning Tibetan. Her self-imposed exile to Beijing came after the Chinese authorities banned her book Notes on Tibet. Her blogs and Skype are periodically hacked. For her, the new media is “the weapon of the powerless.”
Vicky Ntetema is a freelance reporter who contributes to the BBC in Tanzania. She went undercover to investigate the killings of albinos in her country. Albinos are believed to have magical powers and are brutally murdered or mutilated in order to harvest their legs, hair, hands and blood. Witch doctors peddle the notion that potions mixed with albino body parts bring good fortune. Ntetema tenaciously pursued the story, at the risk of her own life.
Claudia Julieta Duque is an investigative reporter for Radio Nizkor in Colombia. The story that changed her life was her investigation into the murder of political humorist and journalist Jaime Garzon. Garzon, popular for his barbed and irreverent political satire, was gunned down in 1999. As a result of her investigation, Duque was abducted, robbed and warned to stop her inquiries. She received threatening phone calls at her home. She went into exile three times. Despite the daily fear, Claudia continues looking for the truth.
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner is Alma Guillermoprieto. An institution amongst her peers, Guillermoprieto was one of two reporters who broke the story of what may have been the worst massacre in modern Latin American history. US-trained Salvadoran soldiers killed nearly 1,000 women, men and children in El Mozote, El Salvador. This was a crime so horrific that it was denied by the Republican Administration and Guillermoprieto discredited. Had she not persevered, the truth of El Mozote would have remained buried.
The IWMF created the Courage in Journalism Awards in 1990 to honor women journalists who show extraordinary strength of character and integrity while reporting the news under dangerous or difficult circumstances.