Serkalem Fasil, the former co-owner and publisher of the weekly newspapers Asqual, Menilik and Satenaw, was one of 14 editors and reporters of independent and privately-owned newspapers arrested after publishing articles critical of the government's actions during the May 2005 parliamentary elections. The journalists were accused of genocide and treason, charges that could bring life imprisonment or the death penalty.
While in jail, Fasil gave birth to and cared for a son, who was premature and underweight due to inhumane conditions and lack of proper medical attention. She was released from prison in April 2007.
Peta Thornycroft has been a journalist for 35 years. One of the few remaining independent journalists in Zimbabwe, she reports on human rights abuses, farm and government repression, and the state of the country as commodities become scarce and inflation rises. A foreign correspondent for British, American and African news media, she renounced her British citizenship and became a citizen of Zimbabwe after the government ruled that all journalists working in Zimbabwe had to be citizens of the country.
Thornycroft has been accused of terrorism and barred from court proceedings, and in 2002 she was arrested while investigating reports of a campaign against members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. At the same time, she has led journalism training initiatives benefiting thousands of southern African journalists.
Other Honorees include: Lydia Cacho of Mexico and the Iraqi Women Reporters of McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau.
The awards will take place in New York on October 23, 2007 and in Los Angeles on October 30, 2007.
The Courage in Journalism Awards is the only awards program exclusively for International Women journalists. Tthey honor women journalists who have shown extraordinary strength of character and integrity while reporting the news under dangerous or difficult circumstances. Tickets can be purchased at: www.iwmf.org/network/courage.