International Press Freedom Awards

2006 Awards - Atwar Bahjat - Iraqi Journalist


Atwar Bahjat
Slain in Iraq, the most dangerous place to be a journalist




Video featuring this awardee
in QuickTime format






Atwar Bahjat, correspondent for Al-Arabiya and former reporter for Al-Jazeera, was murdered in Iraq in February along with her freelance cameraman, Khaled Mahmoud al-Falahi, and engineer, Adnan Khairallah. Her bullet-riddled body was found near Samarra a day after the station lost contact with the crew. At the time of her death, Bahjat was on the outskirts of Samarra covering the bombing of the Shiite shrine Askariya, known as the Golden Mosque. A witness said her murderers drove up suddenly and sought out the television "presenter" to be killed.

Bahjat, 30, an Iraqi, was one of the best known war reporters in the Arab world. She had previously worked for Iraqi TV under Saddam Hussein. She was known as a dogged street reporter who knew well the hardships endured by Iraqi reporters. In the course of her work, Bahjat received several death threats and survived a roadside bomb that destroyed her car, none of which deterred her from reporting. "She always liked to be a reporter in the field," recalled Al-Jazeera news anchor M'hamed Krichene, who worked with her in Baghdad. Colleagues said Bahjat was first to report from the scene of April 2003 looting at the National Museum of Iraq, and she was the only female reporter to cover intense fighting between U.S. and insurgent forces in Najaf in summer 2004.

Bahjat's colleagues laud her professionalism and commitment to accuracy and objectivity, especially in the context of Iraq's sectarian violence. Bahjat, whose father was Sunni and mother Shiite, was widely known for taking great care to be nonpartisan and accurate.

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Read more about Atwar Bahjat in the Los Angeles Times:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-bahjat15mar15,0,7090866.story?page=1&track=tothtml

Read a colleague's tribute to Atwar Bahjat from the Spring 2006 issues of CPJ's Dangerous Assignments :

A colleague from Al-Jazeera remembers Atwar Bahjat




2015
Cándido Figueredo Ruíz (Paraguay), Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (Syria), Zone 9 Bloggers (Ethiopia), Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque,“Zunar” (Malaysia)

2014
Aung Zaw (Burma), Siamak Ghaderi (Iran), Mikhail Zygar (Russia), Ferial Haffajee (South Africa)

2013
Janet Hinostroza (Ecuador), Bassem Youssef (Egypt), Nedim Şener (Turkey), Nguyen Van Hai (Vietnam)

2012
Mauri König (Brazil), Dhondup Wangchen (China), Azimjon Askarov (Krygyzstan), Mae Azango (Liberia)

2011
Mansoor al-Jamri (Bahrain), Natalya Radina (Belarus), Javier Valdez Cárdenas (Mexico), Umar Cheema (Pakistan)

2010
Mohammad Davari (Iran), Nadira Isayeva (Russia), Dawit Kebede (Ethiopia), Laureano Márquez (Venezuela)

2009
Mustafa Haji Abdinur (Somalia), Naziha Réjiba (Tunisia), Eynulla Fatullayev (Azerbijan), J.S. Tissainayagam (Sri Lanka)

2008
Bilal Hussein (Iraq), Danish Karokhel and Farida Nekzad (Afghanistan), Andrew Mwenda (Uganda), Hector Maseda Gutiérrez (Cuba)

2007
Dmitry Muratov (Russia), Mazhar Abbas (Pakistan), Adela Navarro Bello (Mexico), Gao Qinrong (China)

2006
Jesús Abad Colorado (Colombia), Jamal Amer (Yemen), Madi Ceesay (The Gambia), Atwar Bahjat (Iraq)

2005
Galima Bukharbaeva (Uzbekistan), Beatrice Mtetwa (Zimbabwe), Lúcio Flávio Pinto (Brazil), Shi Tao (China)

2004
Svetlana Kalinkina (Belarus), Aung Pwint and Thaung Tun (Burma), Alexis Sinduhije (Burundi), Paul Klebnikov (United States)

2003
Abdul Samay Hamed (Afghanistan), Aboubakr Jamai (Morocco), Musa Muradov (Russia), Manuel Vázquez Portal (Cuba)

2002
Ignacio Gómez (Colombia), Tipu Sultan (Bangladesh), Irina Petrushova (Kazakhstan), Fesshaye Yohannes (Eritrea)

2001
Jiang Weiping (China), Geoff Nyarota (Zimbabwe), Horacio Verbitsky (Argentina), Mazen Dana (West Bank)

2000
Zeljko Kopanja (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Modeste Mutinga (DRC), Steven Gan (Malaysia), Mashallah Shamsolvaezin (Iran)

1999
Jesús Joel Díaz Hernández (Cuba), Baton Haxhiu (Kosovo), Jugnu Mohsin and Najam Sethi (Pakistan), María Cristina Caballero (Columbia)

1998
Grémah Boucar (Niger), Gustavo Gorriti (Panama), Pavel Sheremet (Belarus), Ruth Simon (Eritrea)

1997
Viktor Ivancic (Croatia), Freedom Neruda (Ivory Coast), Christine Anyanwu (Nigeria). Ying Chan (United States) and Shieh Chung-Liang (Taiwan)

1996
Ocak Isik Yurtçu (Turkey), Daoud Kuttab (Palestinian Authority), J. Jesus Blancornelas (Mexico), Yusuf Jameel (India)