ELODIE INTROIA WRITES – On October 23, three Asian and Middle-Eastern women were recognized for their journalistic bravery.
It is well known that being a reporter is one of the most dangerous professions. But for women, the risks are even greater. The women who were honored with the Courage in Journalism Award risked their lives to report the news in dreaded parts of the world, penetrating a gender-centric field with excellence.
One of the awarded women is Nour Kelze, a 25-year old Syrian English teacher turned journalist who became well known for her coverage of the Syrian conflict. While her beauty could easily make her look weak, don’t be fooled. She is tough and dedicated to sharing the destruction Assad’s government inflicted on her people. Her typical day includes walking through the torn up streets, bullet proof vest and helmet on, clicking pictures of the war-torn scenes. When asked if she was ever scared to die, she answered without a blink, that in Syria all is already rocks and dust. People get killed just for being in their own homes. The real fear is if no one ever hears about it.
Another women, Najiba Ayubi, a 45-year old Afghani journalist received the award for her continuous fight for a free media in her home country. She is a successful businesswoman and director of Kabul’s Radio Killid, the country’s largest independent media company. She isnever afraid to speak her mind, and has defied politicians, Taliban rulers, and terrorists despite the countless death threats she received for her activism. She recalls two armed men breaking into her house while she and her family were there, but claims this has made her fearless and more eager to continue fighting for both press freedom and women in Afghanistan.
Bopha Phorn, is another outstanding journalist and Editor-at-large for The Cambodia Daily. She chose this profession at a time when the Khmer Rouge were wrecking her country. She was just a young girl then, but felt it was crucial for her to take a stance for the people. Despite the low pay and risky nature of the job, she says that being an investigative journalist is like the air she breathes, it runs through her veins. It allows her to reach out to the world, for the people, for her country, fighting for justice and for human rights.
All these women are another example that being the “weaker sex” is not a handicap, and great things can be achieved no matter where you are in the world. They have reported with excellence, and have laid down the grounds for more women to fight for what is just, in their own ways.