Niyaz Abdullah, Iraqi Kurdistan

International Press Freedom Awards

CPJ is honored to present its 2022 International Press Freedom Award to Iraqi Kurdish journalist Niyaz Abdullah.

Niyaz Abdullah is a prominent Iraqi Kurdish freelance journalist. She regularly contributes to media outlets in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, including Radio Nawa, the broadcaster NRT, and the news websites Westga, Zhyan News Network, Hawlati, and Skurd, among others. 

Elyaas Ehsas

Abdullah has covered politics, civil unrest, government corruption, human rights, and ethnic and religious minorities in Iraqi Kurdistan. In 2021, she covered the cases of Iraqi Kurdish journalists and civil society activists convicted on national security charges with flimsy evidence. 

Abdullah faced legal harassment by security forces and local authorities for criticizing Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s crackdown on press freedom and freedom of expression, and she was detained and threatened with violence over her work. In 2021, she fled to France to escape threats against her. 

Honoring Abdullah with this year’s IPFA offers a powerful recognition of her essential contributions to the coverage of Iraqi Kurdistan and her unfailing commitment to the ideals of a free and democratic society in the face of grave personal risk.