No Woman’s Land
Posted by jonathanfryer on Friday, 9th March, 2012
To celebrate International Women’s Day and highlight the dangers faced by female journalists, Thomson Reuters hosted a panel discussion at its Canary Wharf headquarters this (Thursday) evening, chaired by my former BBC colleague Lyse Doucet, on behalf of the International News Safety Institute (INSI).The event also served as a book launch for No Woman’s Land, an illustrated collection of essays by women correspondents who have served on the frontline (including Lyse), with a foreword by Lara Logan, the American journalist who was sexually assaulted in Tahrir Square during last year’s tumultuous uprising in Egypt. Before the discussion — which was televised and streamed online — we participants stood in silence as the rollcall of women journalists who had been killed over the past decade was displayed on the screen. Many perished in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, but other fatal zones included Russia, Mexico and the Philippines. In all, over 1,000 journalists — male and female — have been killed since 2001, 174 last year alone. These days, journalists are often specifically targetted — as happened in Homs in Syria recently, the veteran war correspondent Marie Colvin being one of the casualties. Moreover, as several members of the panel and audience testified, women reporters increasingly find themselves the subject of sexual harrassment as well as intimidation. Yet this evening was by no means one of total gloom, as several female correspondents argued that their sex had not usually been any impediment to being given challenging assignments. And as Lyse Doucet said, while we must remember the fallen, today was also a celebration of the way women have established themselves more forcefully within the labour force and life in general, even if there is still a long way to go in some areas.
The book No Woman’s Land is available through www.newssafety.org priced £20. Proceeds will fund INSI’s safety training for women working in the media