3 Imprisoned Iranian Women Journalists Win UN Press Freedom Prize For Reporting On Mahsa Amini’s DeathPress Freedom Prize in jail....
May 3 is annually observed as World Press Freedom Day. This day is observed in order to raise awareness about the importance of the freedom of press as well as to remind governments across the globe of their duty to upload and respect the right to freedom of expression as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Currently, Iranian women are fighting for their right to wear or not wear hijab ever since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini who died under mysterious circumstances after being arrested by the Iranian authorities for not following the dress code. Amidst the anti-hijab protests, UNESCO has named 3 imprisoned Iranian women journalists as winners of the World Press Freedom Prize.
It’s ironic that on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, three IMPRISIONED women journalists have been awarded for reporting on Mahsa Amini’s custody death which sparked the ongoing revolution in Iran. Niloofar Hamedi, Elaheh Mohammadi and Narges Mohammadi have been named as the winners of the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize 2023 for their courage and for reporting on the incident that led to a revolution despite the threat to their personal safety.
Speaking about the same, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that the aim is to honour the three women journalists for their “commitment to truth and accountability” and pay tribute to the women journalists who face threats as well as attacks to their personal safety and are unable to do their jobs. Discussing the same, the jury chair of the jury that selected the journalists, Zainab Salbi stated that the women paid a hefty price for their commitment to their job and reporting the truth and therefore they are committed to honouring their work and ensuring that their voice is heard across the world until they are safe and free.
However, the irony of the situation isn’t lost on us. It’s no secret that apart from casual sexism, trolling, threats and hate speech, women journalists across the globe have to struggle to stay safe from physical assault, attacks and pressure from powerful people in order to do their job with honesty. Despite the sad reality, we do appreciate how the UN brought attention to the Iran anti-hijab protests by awarding imprisoned women journalists on World Press Freedom Day. It’s a shame that this award has to go to women journalists who are neither free nor have the freedom of expression.
For the unversed, Niloofar Hamdi was the one who broke the news of Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody on September 16, 2022. And 3 days later, the journalist was arrested for allegedly violating the dress code and not covering her hair properly and has been in prison ever since. Elaheh Mohammadi reported on Mahsa Amini’s funeral and was also detained in September 2022 by the Iranian authorities. Narges Mohammadi, on the other hand, is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence and continues to report in print from the prison. She has even interviewed female prisoners.