Foundation honors 4 female journalists

NEW YORK – Four newswomen from Belarus, Cameroon, Iran and Israel who have kept working in the face of intimidation, threats and attacks were honored Tuesday by an international media group.

Agnes Taile of Cameroon, who was beaten and left for dead for her work at a radio station; Iryna Khalip, a reporter and editor in the Minsk, Belarus, bureau of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta; and Jila Baniyaghoob, editor-in-chief of the Web site Kanoon Zanan Irani, received the 2009 Courage in Journalism awards from the International Women’s Media Foundation.

The group also handed its Lifetime Achievement Award to Amira Hass, 53, a journalist with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, who for 20 years has reported Palestinian and Israeli government policies from inside Palestinian territory. She has written critically about both Israel and the Palestinians.

Khalip, 41, told the awards luncheon at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel that “dictatorships don’t like journalists” and hundreds of her colleagues have lost jobs and more because the country’s authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko destroyed the independent press. Khalip herself has been detained and beaten by police, according to the biography provided by the foundation.

Taile, 29, whose severe beating in 2006 left her unable to talk for months, called her award “a great day for women of Cameroon.”

Iran’s Baniyaghoob, who was arrested in June following protests over the country’s disputed presidential election, did not attend the ceremony. She was released in August but her husband, economics reporter Bahman Ahmadi Amoyee, remains in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison.