The Committee to Protect Journalists chose Iraqi Kurdish journalist Niyaz Abdullah as the recipient of its 2022 International Press Freedom Award.
The annual IPFA and benefit dinner will be held on 17 November in New York, and will be chaired by Shari Redstone, who leads Paramount Global. Other recipients of the award are Abraham Jiménez Enoa from Cuba, Sevgil Musaieva from Ukraine, and Pham Doan Trang from Vietnam. Independent Russian news website Meduza’s CEO and editor Galina Timchenko will also receive the 2022 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award at the event.
“Our award winners exemplify the best of journalism: work that shines a light on the impacts of war, corruption, and abuse of power on everyday lives,” said CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg. Recipients have demonstrated “the central role journalism plays in serving the public good”, she said.
Abdullah regularly contributes to media outlets in Northern Iraq and the Kurdistan region, including Radio Nawa, the broadcaster NRT, and the news websites Westga, Zhyan News Network, Hawlati, and Skurd, among others. She writes about politics, civil unrest, government corruption, human rights, and ethnic and religious minorities.
Abdullah “faced legal harassment by security forces and local authorities for criticising Kurdish Prime Minister Masrour Barzani’s crackdown on press freedom and freedom of expression, and she was detained and threatened with violence over her work. In 2021, she fled to France to escape threats against her”, the CPJ said. “Honouring Abdullah with this year’s IPFA offers a powerful recognition of her essential contributions to the coverage of Iraqi Kurdistan and her unfailing commitment to the ideals of a free and democratic society in the face of grave personal risk.”