FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 1, 2005
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2005 Courage in Journalism Awards in Los Angeles
For Immediate Release
October 13, 2005
The International Women’s Media Foundation’s 2005 Courage in Journalism Awards Honor Journalists from Bangladesh, Germany and Iran
Syndicated Columnist Molly Ivins from U.S. to Receive
Lifetime Achievement Award
Washington, DC – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) presents the 16th Annual Courage in Journalism Awards, Wednesday, November 2nd, 6:30pm, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire in Los Angeles.
Recipients are: Sumi Khan, a crime reporter with Samakal in Bangladesh; Anja Niedringhaus of Germany, a traveling staff photographer for the Associated Press, and Shahla Sherkat, editorial director of Zanan (Women) in Tehran.
“This year’s Courage Award winners have faced death threats, braved war zones and reported on events and people with integrity and insight, while at the same time putting their lives and livelihoods at risk,” said Judy Woodruff, chair of the Courage in Journalism Awards. “Their commitment to fair, honest reporting has put them at odds with governments and with extremists. Their work makes them champions of a free press.”
Molly Ivins, a nationally syndicated, award-winning political columnist from the United States, will receive the IWMF’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
Larry King, host of CNN’s Larry King Live and Nancy Tellem, president, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment, are event co-chairs for the Los Angeles awards ceremony. Maria Shriver is the Honorary Chair. Presenters include Annette Bening, Campbell Brown of NBC, Phil Bronstein, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, and Julie Chen of CBS.
JPMorgan Chase is the national presenting sponsor of the Courage in Journalism Awards. Los Angeles Presenting Sponsor is Bank of America.
About the recipients:
Sumi Khan, 35, is a crime reporter with the daily Samakal, based in Chittagong, Bangladesh. Khan reports on politics, crime and corruption in one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world. Since 2000, nine journalists have been killed in Bangladesh and reporters are routinely harassed and beaten while trying to do their work. In 2004, Khan began receiving threatening phone calls after she published an article about local politicians and religious organizations and their ties to attacks on minority groups. The phone calls were followed by an attack against her during which she was stabbed and beaten by three unknown assailants. Khan was injured so severely that she was unable to work for three months. Most recently, she received a death threat from the student wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami fundamentalist party after her reporting tied the group to gang activity.
Anja Niedringhaus, 40, is a German-born traveling staff photographer for the Associated Press. Niedringhaus has reported on conflicts in the Gaza Strip, Israel, Kuwait and Turkey. Most recently, she covered Iraq, where she photographed the bombing of Red Cross headquarters, events at Abu Ghraib prison and the lives of Iraqi citizens living under constant threat. During the U.S.-led offensive into Fallujah in November 2004, Niedringhaus was embedded with the U.S. Marines. She joined the AP in 2002, after working as a photojournalist for the European Press Agency. While at the EPA, Niedringhaus spent 10 years covering conflict in the Balkans. She was named EPA’s chief photographer in 1997.
Shahla Sherkat, 49, editorial director of Zanan (Women) in Tehran. Sherkat founded the monthly magazine in 1991, after she was dismissed from her position as editorial director at Zan-e Rouz, a government-owned weekly women’s magazine because she wanted to change the way it depicted women. The Iranian government has threatened to close Zanan many times because of the daring way the magazine covers women’s rights and feminism. Zanan faces continuing financial difficulties because it is privately owned and funded. It has also been attacked by fundamentalist gangs and Sherkat has been repeatedly summoned to court to defend the articles she chooses to publish in Zanan. In January 2001, she was fined and sentenced to prison for four months after attending a conference in Berlin where discussions on the future of political change in Iran took place. She was not required to serve the prison sentence, but was forced to pay a fine equivalent to two-months’ salary.
Molly Ivins, 61, a nationally syndicated columnist, has reported and written about U.S government and politics for such newspapers as the New York Times, Texas Observer and Dallas Times-Herald. Ivins has been a columnist with Creators Syndicate since 2001. Her column appears in some 300 newspapers; she is the author of six books.
The International Women’s Media Foundation created the Courage in Journalism Awards in 1990 to honor women journalists who have shown exceptional courage and bravery in the face of grave danger. Since 1990, 50 journalists have won the awards. This year’s awards will be presented at ceremonies in New York on October 25 and in Los Angeles on November 2.
The International Women’s Media Foundation was launched in 1990 with a mission to strengthen the role of women in the news media worldwide, based on the belief that no press is truly free unless women share an equal voice. The IWMF network is more than 1,500 women in the media in more than 130 countries worldwide. The IWMF is celebrating its Fifteenth Anniversary Year in 2005.
Availability: Interviews by phone in any location. In person interviews in New York, Wasington, DC, and Los Angeles on specific dates. Please contact us for schedule. Bios and photos of all Courage in Journalism Award winners are available upon request or by visiting the IWMF website, www.iwmf.org.