No matter your opinion on the recent Brian Williams scandal regarding his reporting on the Iraq War, the episode reminds us of the alarming truth that journalism is an increasingly dangerous line of work.
At least 66 journalists were killed across the globe in 2014, while another 178 media workers were imprisoned, according to industry monitoring outlet Reporters Without Borders (RSB) (also known as RSF, Reporters Sans Frontières). RSB also noted that the number of kidnapping cases skyrocketed dramatically in 2014, with 119 journalists reportedly being abducted. That's a 37 percent increase year-on-year.
It can be even worse if you're a female journalist. As if the physical threats aren't enough, online abuse against women journalists is "a global phenomenon growing at a very rapid pace," according to Dunja Mijatovic, of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
Simply put, being a female journalist in war zones or in violent, oppressive, or misogynistic countries takes courage. Tons of it, in fact. Fortunately, organizations like the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) exist to shine a light on the challenges faced by female reporters. The foundation is now accepting nominations for its 2015 Courage in Journalism and Lifetime Achievement Awards.
The Courage in Journalism Award honors women journalists who "set themselves apart by their extraordinary bravery. Facing and surviving danger to uncover the truth, they embody a commitment to their societies and to press freedom." Past Courage in Journalism Award winners have hailed from countries like Cameroon, Zambia, Sudan, the U.S. (Barbara Walters), the UK, and Ethiopia. Meanwhile, the IWMF Lifetime Achievement Awards recognizes the "audacity of media industry pioneers who kick down barriers to equality and justice."
Nominees must be full-time women journalists working in print, broadcast, or online media in any country. Nominations for the 2015 Awards must be submitted here by March 15, 2015.
Click here for a deeper IP analysis on the IWMF and its assortment of resources, fellowships, and grants.