“This year’s awardees are working in countries that largely go unreported in the United States. Often at great risk, they have managed to bring to light some of the most important global stories of our times while facing immense personal hardship and, frequently, intense threats to their personal safety,” said the IWMF’s Executive Director, Elisa Lees Muñoz. She added, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be recognizing their commitment to press freedom and the pursuit of the truth through our annual Awards.” Winners were announced at a private ceremony in Los Angeles on May 9.
Now in its 28th year, the IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards celebrate women journalists who set themselves apart through extraordinary bravery. The Lifetime Achievement Award honors one woman who has set new standards for journalists and encourages future generations of reporters to find their voices. These winners join the recently named honorees of the IWMF’s 2017 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Awards – Stephanie Sinclair, Louisa Gouliamaki and Nicole Tung – in demonstrating the capacity, perseverance, and empathy women journalists bring to their craft – and the barriers they must overcome along the way.
Courage in Journalism Award Winners
Deborah Amos | USA
Middle East Correspondent, NPR News; Twitter @deborahamos
Deborah Amos covers the Middle East for NPR News; her reports can be heard on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. A seasoned journalist with nearly 40 years of experience working from conflict zones, Amos covered such world-changing events as the Tiananmen Square massacre, the first Gulf War, the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the “Arab Spring” series of popular revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa. She witnessed the successful revolution in Eastern Europe amid the fall of the Soviet Union. Amos has reported on an ongoing basis from Syria, covering the country’s violent and protracted crisis. She has worked from numerous front lines; she was kidnapped in Somalia and detained in the Balkans and Iran, among other dangers.
Saniya Toiken | Kazakhstan
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
Saniya Toiken is a reporter for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Kazakhstan, where journalists are routinely threatened, beaten, or killed because of their work. Toiken has been reporting on workers’ rights, government corruption, and a variety of social and political stories in Kazakhstan and across the Central Asian states, where dictatorial regimes do everything to silence independent media. Toiken has been repeatedly harassed and threatened for her work. She has been a target of government scrutiny since at least 2010, when she was run off the road after traveling to cover oil and gas workers’ rights. In 2012, Toiken was evicted from her apartment due to false claims made against her in retaliation for reporting on Kazakh security authorities. Her family and friends have also been harassed.
Hadeel al-Yamani | Yemen
Al Jazeera Arabic
Hadeel al-Yamani is the first woman to become an Al Jazeera Arabic (AJA) television correspondent in Yemen, a country that routinely ranks in the bottom tier for women’s rights around the world. What makes this even more remarkable is the fact that al-Yamani came into her own as journalist during a period of extreme upheaval, as she works from the front lines of Yemen’s brutal conflict. She is always the only woman present, microphone in hand, wearing body armor that covers her abaya and hijab as she brings news to the world of a crisis that is often forgotten. In this grueling and dangerous job, al-Yamani covers the humanitarian issues that affect Yemen’s most vulnerable. As al-Yamani has become more accepted as a war correspondent in Yemen, she has paved the way for other women journalists in the country to make their voices heard.
Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Andrea Mitchell | USA
Chief foreign affairs correspondent, NBC News, Twitter @mitchellreports
Andrea Mitchell has been a leading reporter at NBC News for nearly 40 years, and is currently the network’s chief foreign affairs correspondent and host of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports”. She has extensive experience as a political reporter, and as a lead correspondent for numerous presidential campaigns and administrations, including seven presidents. Mitchell has closely covered the complex U.S.-Cuban relationship for decades and led network coverage of the historic thaw with the island country, beginning in 2014. Mitchell’s past assignments for NBC News have included exclusive reports from North Korea, Afghanistan, the Middle East, Bosnia, Kosovo, Pakistan and Haiti. Among her many accolades, she has been honored with the Matrix Award, the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism and the Leonard Zeidenberg Award.
Since its inception in 1990, IWMF has honored more than 100 women journalists from 56 countries as part of its Courage in Journalism Awards program. The 2017 award winners will be recognized in person at ceremonies to be emceed by Cynthia McFadden (NBC News) and Norah O’Donnell (CBS News) in New York on October 18, 2017; by Judy Woodruff (PBS NewsHour) in Washington, DC on October 23, 2017; and by Willow Bay (USC Annenberg School for Journalism and Communication) in Los Angeles on October 25, 2017.
Funds raised at the events sustain IWMF programs and grants that empower women journalists with the training, opportunities, and support to become leaders in the news industry, including direct support for the IWMF’s Emergency Fund, which supports female journalists in crisis.
More information on the IWMF Courage in Journalism Awards and a complete list of past winners can be found here. Follow event announcements on social media via #IWMFcourage.
About the IWMF
Since 1990, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has worked to unleash the potential of women journalists as champions of press freedom to transform the global news media. We seek to ensure that women journalists worldwide are fully supported, protected, recognized and rewarded for their vital contributions at all levels of the news media. As a result, consumers will increase their demand for news with a diversity of voices, stories and perspectives as a cornerstone of democracy and free expression. Through our programs and grants, we empower women journalists with the training, opportunities, and support to become leaders in the news industry.
Learn more at www.iwmf.org