June 25, 2015 – Nearly 300 of Germany’s media leaders gathered at the ewerk venue tonight to celebrate the inaugural International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award. CNN Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour and ZDF journalist Barbara Hahlweg awarded Jerusalem-based freelance photojournalist Heidi Levine with the inaugural award and $20,000 prize. The award was created to honor the life and work of Pulitzer Prize-winning AP photographer Anja Niedringhaus (1965-2014) and established by the IWMF, a Washington DC-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering women reporters around the world.
“I want to thank Anja’s family who have paid the ultimate price for us to be gathered here tonight,” said Heidi Levine, the winner of the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Journalism Award during her acceptance speech. “I also would like to pay tribute to all my colleagues who have been wounded and killed while trying to report on the human cost of war. Journalists are now targets; and we as a reporting community must remain strong, resolute, and free so that those who are suffering will not be silenced and forgotten.”
Levine’s award-winning portfolio is a collection of six images from the 2014 conflict in Gaza.
The event, a celebration of the courage of women photojournalists who risk their lives documenting conflict and war while capturing moments of humanity also featured remarks by journalist and author Mariane Pearl, Associated Press reporter and 2002 IWMF Courage in Journalism winner Kathy Gannon, Associated Press Vice President Santiago Lyon, and IWMF Board Member Bryan Monroe, both Lyon and Monroe are members of the award jury, and IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz. Several multi-media presentations were featured during the event, showcasing nominated images from the front lines of global conflicts and crises.
“What is fascinating is the fact that we see many woman journalists as heroes — but from my experience, the women I have met through the IWMF certainly are not heroes in their own countries, nor do they aspire to be heroes,” said Christiane Amanpour to the audience of leaders from German media. Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent is the anchor of the network’s award-winning, flagship global affairs program “Amanpour”. She also serves on the IWMF Board of Directors and was the 1994 IWMF Courage in Journalism winner.
ZDF Journalist Barbara Hahlweg, the anchor of “mona lisa”, a weekly news program on the German public television network, welcomed the IWMF to Berlin for their first event in Europe, “Tonight, we pay tribute to those women who brave danger and threats to share the stories of people living through the atrocities of war, terror, and hardship.” Since 1990, the IWMF has honored international women reporters for their courage in journalism with award ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles. This year’s Courage in Journalism award events will take place in October 2015.
The IWMF is now accepting nominations for the 2016 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award. The next winner will be announced in March 2016. Female photographers of all nationalities, both freelance journalists and those affiliated with a media organization, are eligible.
The IWMF announced the inception of Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award in 2014. An online press-kit about the award and winner is available. Follow #AnjasCourage on Twitter (@IWMF).