The IWMF Honors 2019 Courage in Journalism Award Winners at 29th Annual Ceremony

Annual Awards Hosted by Norah O’Donnell & Cecilia Vega

New York, NY (October 30, 2019) – The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) today honored female journalists who have exhibited extraordinary courage in reporting from areas of instability, oppression and conflict at its 2019 annual Courage in Journalism Awards ceremony. The luncheon was hosted by Norah O’Donnell and Cecilia Vega. The IWMF recognizes the pioneers who’ve broken barriers making it possible for women all over the world to elevate their voices and make themselves heard. Since its inception in 1989, the IWMF has honored more than 100 journalists from over 60 countries.

This year’s winners include Ukrainian journalists Anna Babinets of SLIDSTVO.INFO and Nastya Stanko of HromadskeAnna Nimiriano of The Juba Monitor; Nicaraguan journalist Lucía Pineda of 100% Noticias who was recently released from prison; and, Liz Sly, the Beirut bureau chief for The Washington Post.

Babinets and Stanko, both based in Ukraine, have covered government corruption and the hot conflict in Eastern Ukraine for SLIDSTVO.INFO and Hromadske, respectively, while combatting censorship and a public distrustful of news media. Nimiriano is the only female editor-in-chief in South Sudan, managing the leading daily newspaper. Pineda, of Nicaragua, was imprisoned from December 2018 to June 2019 on claims of ‘inciting violence,’ and is this year’s awardee who has been jailed or otherwise detained. Sly has covered war and unrest in Africa, Beijing and the Middle East for two decades, and been recognized with a Polk Award and a Daniel Pearl Award.

A special Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the founders of the IWMF, Bonnie Angelo, Maureen Bunyan, Kathy Bushkin-Calvin, Eleanor Clift, Barbara Cochran, Raghida Dergham, Ysabel Duron, Pat Ellis, Gigi Geyer, Don Graham, Jacquelin Grapin, Al Hunt, Susan King, George Lehner, Marianne Means, Bailey Morris-Eck, Lynn Povich, Tim Russert, Carole Simpson, Kerry Smith, Judy Woodruff, Nancy Woodhull and Narda Zacchino marking the organization’s 30th anniversary. The award recognizes a cadre of distinguished female journalists who galvanized in 1989 to strengthen the role of women in news media and recognize the contributions of women to the field worldwide. 30 years later, the IWMF honors these trailblazers from broadcast and print journalism who pioneered a way for women to break barriers. The reach, scope and value of the IWMF today would not have been possible without their influence.

Co-Hosted by Norah O’Donnell and Cecilia Vega, presenters included Elisa Lees Muñoz and guests included, Khaliah Ali Wertheimer, Tina Brown, Connie Chung, Joanna Coles, Vartan Gregorian, James Goldston, Cindi Leive, Lynn Povich and more.

Bank of America was the National Presenting Sponsor for the 14th consecutive year.

About the 2019 Courage in Journalism Winners:

Anna Nimiriano (South Sudan)

Editor-in-chief, The Juba Monitor

The only female editor-in-chief in South Sudan, Nimiriano has been reporting for more than 15 years in one of the world’s most compromising countries for journalists. While working in Khartoum, Nimiriano was detained, attacked and routinely censored by the government. In 2016, she single-handedly re-opened The Juba Monitor and released her editor from prison. During this time of change, Nimiriano has increased the Monitor’s female staff from one to four journalists and is fighting to extend the paper’s circulation to Nairobi and Khartoum. The paper is currently being circulated in Kampala.

Read more of Anna’s story here.

Anna Babinets & Nastya Stanko (Ukraine)

Investigative Journalist & Broadcast Journalist@Anna_Babinets and @StankoNastya

Babinets and Stanko, both based in Ukraine, work to expose government corruption despite enduring threats and physical harm – all consequences of a physical and propaganda war that began in 2013 with the Maidan Revolution.

As the editor-in-chief and head of investigative journalism at the non-profit organization SLIDSTVO.INFO, Babinets produces stories on big crimes in Ukraine. She is also the editor of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. Stanko is a journalist who reports on the Russian-Ukrainian war, and member of the Ukrainian “Stop Censorship” movement; in 2013, she co-founded the independent media channel Hromadske, and is the deputy editor-in-chief.

Babinets was attacked by the government for months in 2016 for her investigation into presidential off-shore companies while Stanko was taken hostage and held captive in 2014 by Russian-backed separatists in Eastern Ukraine. Both women continue to seek the truth, exhibiting uncommon bravery in their pursuit of press freedom in Ukraine.

Read more of Anna’s story here and Nastya’s story here.

Liz Sly (United Kingdom)

Beirut Bureau Chief, The Washington Post@LizSly

Described as, “the dean of Middle Eastern correspondents,” Sly’s decades in journalism have rendered her fearless, despite constant government surveillance, immense personal risk and incessant surrounding violence. Since 2011 Sly has covered the war in Syria as the preeminent journalistic authority on the conflict and reported in-country more than a dozen times. Though nearly 130 journalists have been killed in Syria to-date, Sly persists to detail how the war impacts the lives of civilians.

Read more of Liz’s story here.  

Lucía Pineda (Nicaragua)

News Director, 100% Noticias; Twitter: @LuciaPinedaU

The state of press freedom in Nicaragua is dire. Pineda, a respected broadcast anchorwoman, was arrested in December 2018 for ‘inciting hate and violence’ after her news outlet, 100% Noticias, reported on abuse by government forces. Pineda was released from prison in June 2019 where she accumulated numerous health issues and was restricted from accessing legal support. While imprisoned Pineda never gave up, saying, “everything I’ve done has been for the love of my country.” Pineda is currently receiving medical attention following her release from prison.

Read more of Lucía’s story here.

About the Courage in Journalism Awards

Since its inception 30 years ago, the IWMF has honored more than 100 women journalists from nearly 60 countries as part of its Courage in Journalism Awards program. Funds raised at the events sustain critical organizational programs and grants, including direct support for the IWMF’s Emergency Fund, which supports female journalists in crisis. This year’s ceremony in Washington, D.C., is on October 22nd at the Newseum, and in New York City on October 30th at Cipriani’s.


About the International Women’s Media Foundation

Founded in 1989, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) is the only global non-profit organization that offers emergency support, safety training, grants, reporting opportunities and funding avenues offered specifically for female journalists. We are making more women’s bylines possible and work tirelessly to ensure a greater diversity of voices represented in the news industry worldwide. Follow the IWMF on Twitter at @IWMF, on Facebook at @IWMFPage and Instagram on @TheIWMF.