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Palestinian Journalist Maha Hussaini Honored for Bravery Amid Gaza Conflict

11 Jun. 24: Palestinian freelance journalist Maha Hussaini has been recognized by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) with the prestigious Courage in Journalism Award for her exceptional bravery in reporting on the Israel’s war on Gaza. Announced on Monday, the award highlights her fearless work for Middle East Eye (MEE) under harrowing conditions.

Since the conflict’s outbreak in October, Hussaini has authored numerous reports, including a significant piece on Israeli field executions of Palestinians, which was used as evidence at the International Court of Justice by South Africa in a case accusing Israel of genocide.

Reflecting on the award, Hussaini expressed mixed emotions. “I am happy because it is another effort to recognize the work of Palestinian journalists and make them heard and seen,” she said. “But I am saddened because I know the cost of such recognition in a place where over 150 journalists have been killed over the course of eight months.”

Hussaini has faced relentless dangers, including daily threats to her life, forced relocations, and dire living conditions, shared by Gaza’s 2.3 million residents. She often worked without electricity and internet access due to Israeli-imposed power outages and faced severe movement restrictions.

“Journalists are targets for the Israeli army,” Hussaini told MEE. “Many of the journalists who have been killed while reporting were colleagues with whom I closely collaborated.” Despite the risks, she remains committed to her mission, hoping that her recognition will bring more attention to the work of Palestinian journalists, especially as Israel restricts international media access to Gaza.

Joining Hussaini in receiving the Courage in Journalism Award were Lauren Chooljian, a senior reporter and producer at NHPR in the U.S., and Monica Velásquez Villacís, an investigative journalist from Ecuador. IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Muñoz emphasized the critical need for women’s voices in journalism to uphold press freedom and accountability.

David Hearst, Editor in Chief of MEE, lauded Hussaini’s unwavering courage. “To report under conditions where you as a journalist are deliberately targeted, and where you witness your colleagues being killed, is a feat few other journalists can imagine,” he said. “Maha deserves the highest award for her work.”

Lubna Masarwa, MEE’s Palestine and Israel bureau chief, praised Hussaini’s resilience and dedication. “Despite everything she endured – the bombs, displacement, and seeing her colleagues killed – Maha has remained resilient, professional, and true to her mission of giving a voice to the Palestinian people,” she said.

Since starting her career in 2014 during an Israeli offensive on Gaza, Hussaini has consistently highlighted human rights and conflict issues. Her previous accolades include the Martin Adler Prize from the Rory Peck Trust in 2020 and a nomination for the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund’s Local Reporter Award in 2023.

The IWMF’s Courage in Journalism Awards celebrate women journalists who demonstrate extraordinary bravery and resilience. Last year, the award was posthumously given to Shireen Abu Akleh, a renowned Palestinian-American journalist killed by Israeli forces in 2022.

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