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3 imprisoned Iranian female journalists win UN top prize

The three Iranian free press prize winners.Photo/Iranwire.

The United Nations on Tuesday night announced that, its premier prize for press freedom has been awarded to three imprisoned Iranian female journalists “for their commitment to truth and accountability.”

The winners are Niloufar Hamedi who broke the news of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s death last September while being held by the morality police for wearing her headscarf too loosely, and Elaheh Mohammadi who wrote about her funeral.

Amini’s death brought months-long protests in dozens of cities across Iran. The demonstrations posed one of the most serious challenges to the Islamic Republic since the 2009 Green Movement protests drew millions to the streets.

The third winner is Narges Mohammadi, who has worked for many years as a journalist and is one of Iran’s most prominent activists.

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Press Freedom Prize is named after Guillermo Cano, a Colombian journalist who was assassinated in front of the offices of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogota on December 17, 1986.

UNESCO has awarded the prize to coincide with World Press Freedom Day on May 3 since 1997.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, announced the winners at a ceremony in New York, saying: “Now more than ever, it is important to pay tribute to all women journalists who are prevented from doing their jobs and who face threats and attacks on their personal safety.”

While Zainab Salbi, who is chair of the international jury of media professionals that chose the winners said, the brave work of the three winners “led to a historical women-led revolution.”

Writing by Tersoo Nicholas