FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2008
For more information:
Farida Nekzad of Afghanistan and Sevgul Uludag of Cyprus Win Courage in Journalism Awards from the International Women's Media Foundation
Edith Lederer of the United States is Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
CORRECTION: Farida Nekzad's title and the name of her news agency were incorrect in the previous press release, which was issued on June 25. The corrected version follows.*
Washington, D.C. – An Afghan journalist who strives for a free press while taking measures to prevent threats on her life and an investigative reporter in Cyprus who faces threats but continues reporting stories that reveal the truth about events in her tense country are recipients of this year’s International Women's Media Foundation Courage in Journalism Awards. A third woman journalist has also won a Courage Award; her name will be released at a later date due to concerns for her safety.
"These extraordinary journalists have shown bravery amidst threats and intimidation," said Judy Woodruff, chair of the IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards. "They are heroines of a free press and provide us with role models for the very best journalism in the world today."
Winners of the 2008 Courage in Journalism Awards are:
Farida Nekzad, 31, managing editor and deputy director of Pajhwok Afghan News* and vice president of the South Asia Media Commission. Nekzad frequently receives phone calls and email messages threatening her life. During the funeral service of her colleague, Zakia Zaki, who was murdered, she received calls saying that she would have the same fate. After she wrote a story in 2003 about a warlord, Nekzad narrowly escaped a kidnapping attempt. She now frequently switches the car she drives, changes her schedule daily and sleeps in a different room in her home each night to prevent ambush by potential attackers. Despite working under tremendous pressure at a time when women journalists in particular are being threatened for their reporting in Afghanistan, Nekzad is committed to staying in her country to work toward a free press and greater equality for women journalists.
Sevgul Uludag, 49, investigative reporter for Yeniduzen newspaper in Cyprus. Uludag has been a journalist for nearly three decades. In 2002, she began writing about missing people and mass graves in Cyprus. Her reporting started a public debate about the issue of missing people and mass graves and led to official searches and exhumations. Uludag lives in the northern part of divided Cyprus but through her reporting attempts to ease the segregation between the Greek and Turkish communities. In doing so, she has faced many obstacles, including death threats and violent attacks. In April 2003, the daily paper Volkan, mouthpiece of the nationalist movement, pronounced threats of murder against Uludag and called upon readers to "cut off the tongue of Sevgul Uludag." But neither hate campaigns nor psychological terror keep Uludag from publishing her articles.
The IWMF also announced that it will present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Edith Lederer, 65, chief correspondent at the United Nations for the Associated Press. Lederer, who is based in New York, began her journalism career in 1966. In her more than four decades with the AP, she has worked on every continent except Antarctica covering wars, famines, nuclear issues and political upheavals. Lederer was the first female resident correspondent in Vietnam in 1972; she lived in a jail with a guard for protection because most other reporters were men. She was the first woman to head an AP foreign bureau in Peru, the first AP reporter to cross the Yalu River after the Korean War and the first journalist to file the bulletin announcing the start of the first Gulf War. She wrote about covering the Vietnam War in War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Who Covered Vietnam.
Created in 1990, the IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards honor women journalists who have shown extraordinary strength of character and integrity while reporting the news under dangerous or difficult circumstances. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a woman journalist who has a pioneering spirit and whose determination has paved the way for women in the news media. Including this year's award winners, 63 journalists have won Courage Awards and 17 journalists have been honored with Lifetime Achievement Awards. The 2008 awards will be presented at ceremonies in Los Angeles on October 16 and New York on October 21. Award winners will attend a reception and panel discussion in Washington, D.C., on October 9.
The 2008 Courage in Journalism Awards are generously supported by the Bank of America as national presenting sponsor.
Founded in 1990, the International Women's Media Foundation is a vibrant global network dedicated to strengthening the role of women in the news media worldwide as a means to further freedom of the press. The IWMF network includes women and men in the media in more than 130 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.iwmf.org.