Winner of the Ida B. Wells Award
for Bravery in Journalism
From the OneWorld.Net story From Baghdad With Love:
“Former teacher Bushra Jamil returned to Iraq in 2003 to start the country’s first progressive radio station for women, which has flourished over the years despite the constant threat of violence and government opposition.
• Radio Al-Mahaba is the first radio station in Iraq designed for and by women.
• The station is credited with reaching out to and connecting women from all walks of life.
• Jamil has been commended with several congressional and journalism awards for her efforts.
“In Baghdad right now, refrigerators, electric stoves, heaters, air conditioners, televisions, and computers operate for one or two hours on a good day. There are plenty of days when it isn’t safe to go outside to shop or work or visit neighbors. And even when there’s light to read, Iraqi sources estimate that as many as 75% of women in Iraq are illiterate—a rate that has grown steadily over the past 10 years of warfare and civil strife. Here and in the rest of Iraq, people count on transistor radios for news and entertainment, to lift their spirits and to let them know what’s happening in the world….
“The station sees its mission as ‘contributing to the establishment of a secular democratic society where all are equally treated and their rights are protected by law… and as joining Iraqis with love, kinship, commitment, respect, and most important, cumulative knowledge.’ In an NPR interview, Jamil gave one small example of how that works in practice. ‘On our legal program, a woman called crying because her husband beat her. She had children and no job, and didn’t know how she could get by without him.’ The next caller and the one after that both asked the host to pass their numbers on to the first, so they could share experience and support.”