Over the past 21 years the International Women’s Media Foundation has attempted to recognize the outstanding work by female journalists, especially those working in male dominated societies and hostile environments. For example, Iranian journalist Parisa Hafezi has not had an easy road to success. During her career, she has been not been taken seriously, beaten and jailed. This, sadly, is the norm for female journalists in specific areas of the world.
Hafezi is not the only female journalist that has had such experiences. With all of these atrocious acts happening to female journalists, the IWMF, for the past 21 years, has been recognizing female journalists who stand out in terms of bravery while reporting. CBS, last week, covered the IWMF’s 21st annual Courage in Journalism Awards. Keynote guest speakers included Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ABC reporter George Stephanopoulus and Princess Rym Ali of Jordan to name a few.
With all of the negative actions towards journalists in other areas of the world, why would anyone want to willingly jump into this situation? Chiranuch Premchaiporn, of Thailand, was one of the three women that won a courage award at last week’s ceremony. She faces up to 20 years in Thai prison for knowingly breaking Thailand’s computer crime and freedom laws.
With risk of imprisonment, physical harm or death, these brave women have continued their responsibilities and duties as journalists without second thoughts. East Asian countries where free press is unheard of or middle-eastern countries that are male dominated, these women are not intimidated.
What does these journalist’s willingness to report the news regardless of punishment stay about the state of journalism? Should there be separate journalism bravery awards for male and female journalists? Are the risks for female and male journalists always the same?