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Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Fact they say is often stranger than fiction. In the case of these four amazing women journalists, it is equally dangerous as well.

All of them had either been jailed, kidnapped or maimed. Yet they remained determined to continue their careers seeking truth and exposing injustice.

Hailing from China, the US, Lebanon and Mexico - the four were honoured with the 17th Annual Courage in Journalism Award given out by the International Women's Media Foundation in New York.

The recipients include 28 year Jill Carroll, 43 year May Chidiac and 62 year old Gao Yu.

74 year old Mexican journalist and author Elena Poniatowska Amor, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Caroll, the Christian Science Monitor freelancer who was kidnapped and held for 82 days, donated her award money to a foundation she set up for her former driver in Iraq. Her translator was killed when she was kidnapped. Her driver was left alive and his life remains in danger because of what he witnessed.

Gao Yu, a Chinese economic and political reporter was jailed twice in China.

May Chidiac, a Lebanese television host and journalist was nearly killed by a car bomb a year ago following her daily talk show in which she pondered the possible involvement of Syria in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri. Speaking after the award ceremony, Chidiac said had she not turned her body to put something in the back seat, she probably would not have lived. She lost her left leg, hand, and was badly injured on the left side of her head. She also has trouble hearing out of the left ear. Having spent 9 months in hospital, she no longer hosts a morning show, rather she has a primetime one called 'With Audacity'.

Journalist and author Poniatowska, on the other hand, started working way back in 1953, at a time when women were not to be seen in public life in Mexico. She quickly made a name for herself, especially with her book exposing the Mexican government's massacre of students in 1968.

Also a novelist and playwright, Poniatowska remains committed to the poor of Mexico and the world. She calls for "listening to the voices" of the under-privileged to become aware of different ways of living and thinking.