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Women from Burundi, Kyrgyzstan & US receive journalism awards

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October 12, 2000 


NEW YORK (AP) - A journalist from Burundi who has continued reporting despite death threats, a newspaper editor who has been jailed in Kyrgyzstan, and an America war correspondent who came under fire in Kosovo and Chechnya received Courage in Journalism awards.

The International Women's Media Foundation on Tuesday honored Agnes Nindorera of Burundi, Zamira Sydykova of Kyrgyzstan, and Marie Colvin, an American based in London, for fighting for press freedom at its 11th awards luncheon attended by more than 600 people.

Each journalist received dlrs 2,000.

"Because these three journalists have placed themselves in harm's way, the world's readers, viewers and listeners are better informed, wiser and less vulnerable to complacency," said Narda Zacchino of the Los Angeles Times, chair of the awards.

Flora Lewis, a syndicated foreign affairs columnist for the Washington Post and the New York Times who now writes a column from Paris for the New York Times Syndicate, received the foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Nindorera, a reporter and producer at Studio Ijambo, has covered Burundi's civil war for more than four years and been arrested numerous times.

Her home has been ransacked, her equipment has been confiscated by the government, and a high-level government official told her she would be shot in the head if she continued to report. Undeterred, she has continued to work for the station as well as the Voice of America and Agence France Presse, the French news agency.

Sydykova, editor-in-chief of Res Publica, an independent newspaper founded in Kyrgyzstan following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, is one of the few women to head a paper in the region.

In 1995, she was charged with slandering the president for writing about his foreign bank accounts and banned from working as a journalist for 18 months. In 1997, she was charged with criminal libel for publishing articles alleging corruption in a state-run gold mining company. She spent a month in a labor camp and was again banned from working for 18 months.

Recently, Res Publica was again found guilty of libel and fined dlrs 5,000. Sydykova asked in July, after the awards were announced, for her dlrs 2,000 to help pay the fine and the paper is once again publishing.

Colvin, a foreign correspondent for The Sunday Times in Britain, has reported from behind the front lines for 15 years, most recently in Kosovo where she went on patrol with the Kosovo Liberation Army as it engaged Serb military forces and in Chechnya where she was repeatedly attacked by Russian jet fighters while reporting on Chechen rebels. She also covered the conflict in East Timor after its people voted for independence.

The International Women's Media Foundation was founded in 1990 to advance the role of women in the media throughout the world.

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