Three Names the World Should Know


By Stephen Leahy

Nov 5 (IPS) – “I am staying in Afghanistan to prove that women are brave and strong,” says Afghan journalist Farida Nekzad.

Nekzad has been threatened with death even as she attended the funeral of Zakia Zaki, a female radio broadcaster murdered by gunmen as she slept with her eight-month-old son at her home near Kabul in June.

“I was given asylum by some countries but I am not going to hide,” declared Nekzad, the current editor in chief of the Pajhwok News Agency, the sole independent news agency in Afghanistan.

“If I leave, the next woman journalist will become a target,” she told IPS.

Nekzad was in Toronto last Thursday to receive one of this year’s three International Press Freedom Awards from the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). CJFE promotes and defends free expression and press freedom and grants thousands of dollars to aid persecuted journalists in Latin America, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.

Iraqi journalist Sahar Al-Haideri, shot and killed on Jun. 7 this year by four unidentified gunmen in Mosul, and Canadian journalist Ali Iman Sharmarke, who was killed by a remote-controlled landmine in Somalia Aug. 11, were the other award recipients. Continue reading