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An Afghan journalist and an investigative reporter in Cyprus have won the 2008 Courage in Journalism Awards from the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF). A third woman journalist also won an award, but due to safety concerns her name has not yet been released.

Farida Nekzad, managing editor and deputy director of Pajhwok Afghan News and vice-president of the South Asia Media Commission, frequently receives threats for her work as a journalist promoting press freedom and women's rights in Afghanistan. During the funeral service of her murdered colleague Zakia Zaki last year, she received calls threatening the same fate. She's had to resort to changing her daily routine - from switching cars to sleeping in different rooms, but she is determined to stay in Afghanistan. Last year Nekzad won the International Press Freedom Award from Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE).

Sevgul Uludag, a journalist for nearly three decades in Cyprus, has not let hate campaigns or death threats deter her from her investigative reporting. After she began writing about missing people and mass graves in 2002, a public debate started that led to official searches and exhumations. She has covered the issue for both Turkish- and Greek-language newspapers in Cyprus and tried to ease segregation between the two communities through her reporting. Yet, in April 2003 the daily paper of Cyprus's Turkish nationalist movement, "Volkan", called upon readers to "cut off the tongue of Sevgul Uludag."

About being an investigative reporter, she told IFEX member in Turkey IPS Communication Foundation (BIANET), "Sometimes you are all alone. Even those around you will tell you not to do what you are doing, to be careful, to quit. However, there is work that needs to be done, articles that need to be written. You go on."

The IWMF also announced a Lifetime Achievement Award for Edith Lederer, chief correspondent at the United Nations for the Associated Press. She was the first female resident correspondent in Vietnam (in 1972), and has worked on almost every continent since she began her journalism career in 1966.

Created in 1990, the awards honour women journalists who have shown extraordinary strength of character and integrity while reporting news under dangerous or difficult circumstances. They will be presented at ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York in October.

Visit these links:
- CJFE honours Farida Nekzad:
(Photo of Farida Nekzad courtesy of Richard Lautens/Toronto Star)

(2 July 2008)

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