Celebrating courageous women journalists
March 10, 2011 Leave a comment
By Zai of TakeChargeLadies
Would you take a job that came with this warning: “Employer may be beaten, arrested, imprisoned or sexually assaulted”?
For the love of their career, the following brave women journalists did.
In early February, CBS chief foreign correspondent Lara Logan was brutally and sexually assaulted while on the job. The reporter was covering a celebration in Egypt’s Tahrir Square the night President Hosni Mubarak stepped down from power. Amidst the ruckus, she was separated from her crew, stripped of her clothes, punched, slapped and beaten with poles by a crowd of about 200 men who chanted “Israeli” and “Jew,” according to the Daily Mail. She was saved by a group of Egyptian women and soldiers. Prior to the incident, Logan had been arrested and blindfolded by Egyptian soldiers in Alexandria for suspicions of being a spy. The 40-year-old mother of two has spoken in the past about the risks she takes and about the thought of leaving her children without a mother. Despite those risks, she continues to do what she loves.
In the past four years, Iranian journalist Jila Baniyaghoub has been beaten, detained and imprisoned several times for reporting truths about the government, social oppression and for covering peaceful women’s right protests. She has also been fired from several jobs because of her refusal to censor the subject matter of her reporting, which is usually focused on the lives of Iranian women and refugees during times of conflict. Because she works under one of the most repressive governments where both women and journalists are severely restricted, Baniyaghoub is a target of the Iranian government. Still, she continues to devote her career to uncovering the issues that affect women in Iran.
In 1999, Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima survived attempted murder when two motorcyclists tried to run her over. According to Harvard’s Nieman Reports, the attack is thought to be connected to reports Bedoya had written about criminal gangs that kidnap people for ransom. A year later, Bedoya was kidnapped, drugged, brutally beaten and raped following her award-winning report in which she suggested that leaders of a paramilitary group may have ordered execution style killings in a prison. Then, in 2003, the young journalist was again kidnapped by a guerilla that had taken over the town Bedoya had gone to report about. She later talked about how she was stripped of clothing and trapped in a house during the kidnap. Even after the traumatizing events, Bedoya continues being a watchdog for her government and people. And get this – she doesn’t think her acts should be labeled “courageous.” She said in an interview, “I’m just doing my job.”
Chinese writer/blogger Tsering Woeser is probably blogging from her Beijing home right now, while being monitored and followed by police. Her “crime”? In 2003, Woeser published her book, “Notes on Tibet,” which discusses Tibetan history and religious and political traditions that reveal opinions “that are harmful to the unification and solidarity of our nation,” according to the Chinese government. Not only was her book banned soon after publication, but Woeser was also forced to move to Beijing and undergo “reeducation,” which included repeated detention, psychological abuse and interrogation. When asked to retrieve her comments and apologize, Woeser refused. She was then fired from the Tibetan Literature, a government-controlled journal. Since then, the writer started a blog where she reports on Chinese human rights abuses in Tibet. And because of that blog, the Chinese government has raided Woeser’s home and hacked into her email, blog, Skype and phone. They’ve also taken away her passport, making it impossible for her to travel abroad. But like I said, Woeser is most likely at her home blogging as I blog this, because after all the troubles she has been given, she continues her efforts in exposing the struggles of her people.
Many other women and men in the journalism field continue their careers taking the same risks these brave women have. But in light of celebrating National Women’s History Month, the aforementioned few are just some of the women who should be recognized for their bravery.
You can find more on this subject at
Newsweek: Women in Harm’s Way