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Women Journalists from Iraq, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Mexico Honored
By Mona Ghuneim
24 October 2007
An Ethiopian publisher who gave birth to a son while imprisoned, a group of Iraqi women reporters who risk their lives to cover the war, a Mexican journalist who receives threats to her life, and a VOA contributor from Zimbabwe are the recipients of this year's "Courage in Journalism" awards. From VOA's New York Bureau, Mona Ghuneim reports.
The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) says this year's winners are working at a time when press freedom is under threat in many places. The group, which honors international female journalists each year with the awards, says the 2007 recipients are under constant duress and literally risk their lives in order to report the facts.
The group Tuesday honored Ethiopian journalist and former publisher of three weekly newspapers, Serkalem Fasil. Fasil was arrested in 2005, after publishing articles critical of the government. She was pregnant at the time and gave birth to her son prematurely in jail, then cared for him while still imprisoned. She was released in April of this year and says she will "continue to do the right thing." Fasil was not in New York to receive her award, but she spoke through a translator in a video shown at the ceremony.
"I was detained for a year and six months," said Serkalem Fasil. "Prison will not deter me from writing. I will continue to write. I will not soften the issues or self-censor either. I will report the facts."
In July, the Ethiopian government appealed Fasil's acquittal and brought charges against her again. Currently, she is waiting for the case to be heard in court.
The IWMF honored six Iraqi women who work in the Baghdad bureau of the McClatchy newspapers chain. Sahar Issa accepted the award for the group.
"Our voices have carried, through war, through death and sorrow, through sleepless nights and fear-driven days, in an effort to reflect the picture of our country as we see it, and of our people as only we can truly know them," said Sahar Issa.
Issa says that an average of one reporter and one media assistant is killed every week in Iraq.
Mexican journalist Lydia Cacho says she is not working in a war-torn country like Iraq but she has been detained, arrested and endured death threats because of her work. The correspondent for the Women's Communication and Information (CIMAC) agency reports on domestic violence, organized crime and political corruption in Mexico. She was honored for her journalism and human rights work in her country.
The IWMF's Lifetime Achievement Award went to a journalist from Zimbabwe who contributes to the Voice of America and also writes for British, South African and US news organizations. Peta Thornycroft reports on human rights abuses and government repression despite the difficulties journalists face in Zimbabwe. She has been detained and arrested and even gave up her British citizenship when foreign media were expelled from the country so that she could remain in Zimbabwe and report. She says she works in a "heartbroken country."
"Zimbabwe has withdrawn from the world," said Peta Thornycroft. "Its life, its energy, its resilience is eaten away. There is no war in Zimbabwe, except Mugabe's war against his people."
Thornycroft thanked the IWMF for the award and for its work in strengthening the role of women in the international press. The group believes that no media is truly free unless women share an equal voice.
These women have more courage to do a job they belive in then most so called diaspora ethiopian men..
Who cares if some stood against the nation,should be imprisoned because there is no one above the law.
Don’t miss with rule of the land other wise you will face consequences like Serkalem Fasil.
Tegbaben? hope so. yeha
It is a sad story,
however Do not forget …… some so called journalists and even priests were also involved in the Rwandan genocide. And accused and punished as a result.
I don’t know the facts about this woman. but everybody needs to respect the rules of the country living in.
Dear Yeha,I don’t really care about what
you said,but somebody out there cares
about her and others.We are in the open and free world,you and Mesloche probably might want tell thme what to do but you
guys can’t.You know where you are.
God bless you all.
i proud you sercallem God bless your son ok . that is a good job at that time i was Ethiopia a read a lot of magazine i know congratulation . sercallem God be with you .
To VOA: How about judith Miller?
she is our hero like Titu is.God bless you and your familly Sercalem,
Stoopid Agam Kega and Yi haaa, you are loodicrous woyane! You grudgingly admit ttaht an Ethiopian woman journalist has been honored by a respected western organisation!And yet you spit your usual woyane foul garbage!You seem to have been sent into insanity by Birtukan and her colleagues triumphant tour of the US and Europe, the Diaspora is with Kinigit!
Rule of law!!! It makes me laugh sometimes when I read the same thing over and over from the pro-government guys. Are you guys read the same book every morning and live the same roof… I have many brothers and sisters and we never agree most of time even those we came from the same parent. We think independently and we use God given conscious. Rule of law … do you guys understand what it means? Do you understand under rule of low there is no preferential treatment? Do you guys know rule of law blend of color, origin, political affiliation and so money other things? Do you guys know rule of law doesn’t love one citizen more than other, one political party over the other, one ethnic group mover the other group? In our country rule of law works only when it works for the leading party, in this case TPLF; my friends we lived the country that a president can be impeach, we live the country a senator or congressman can be accountable for what he did so if he did something wrong he can go jail… we live a country a journalist can bring the fact to the people and destroy the presidency (take example President Nixon)… Living and breathing the rule of law the last 20 + year I can tell you my TPLF friends the rule of law doesn’t exist in Ethiopia.
I hope you don`t mean that. Because freedom of speech is basic human right. Who ever violate that considers to be a criminal.
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