Margaret Moth | 1992 Courage in Journalism Award
(January 30, 1951 – March 21, 2010)
CNN, New Zealand
After spending years covering stories in situations such as the Persian Gulf War, the rioting following Indira Gandhi’s death and the civil war in Tblisi, camerawoman Margaret Moth decided to volunteer to film the unrest in Sarajevo, and she was among the first ones from CNN.
On July 23, 1992, less than two months after arriving in the besieged city, Moth was struck by a sniper’s bullet as she drove with colleagues to the Sarajevo airport to interview pilots flying relief supplies. Her jaw was shattered, and she lost nearly all of her teeth and part of her tongue. Moth was rushed to a local hospital for emergency surgery and then flown to the United States where she endured numerous reconstructive surgeries.
In a note to CNN staffers following her injuries, Moth wrote:”Things seem to be heating up in Sarajevo. The doctors seem to think a rotation back in a couple of weeks would do me good – besides, I can look for my missing teeth.”
General Lewis MacKenzie, former commander of the United Nations peacekeeping forces in the region, says:” She was the toughest person – and I don’t mean girls – she was the toughest person in Sarajevo. We admire her and we still do.”
Moth began her career in 1974 as a news photographer and editor in New Zealand. She worked for KHOU in Houston, Texas prior to joining CNN in 1990. She has a degree in Fine Arts, specializing in Film and Photography, from the University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand.
In 2007, Moth was diagnosed with colon cancer. In September 2009, she entered a hospice in Rochester, Minnesota, where she died on March 21, 2010 at the age of age 59.
Margaret Moth is the first IWMF Courage in Journalism Award winner from New Zealand.