Srinagar: Masrat Zahra, a Srinagar based photo journalist has been awarded Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism 2020 for telling stories of the women of Kashmir.
“Masrat Zahra exhibits the very qualities that my late husband, Peter Mackler, fostered in the new generation of reporters whose path he crossed. Masrat’s complete dedication to reporting the story, no matter the risks, along with her mental fearlessness and creative approach to use any medium at her disposal to bear witness to the world made our choice easy,” said Catherine Antoine, president of the Global Media Forum Training Group and founder of the Peter Mackler Award.
“It’s our job to work and show the truth,” and “you have to take risks” to do it, Zahra was quoted as saying in a Zoom interview by the Peter Mackler Award.
“There is no excuse that you will stay home and do the reporting – you have to be there,” she said, despite the attempts of such entities as the “Cyber Police” in Srinagar or India’s “Directorate of Information” to suppress her work.
She will be honored in a virtual ceremony organized by the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in New York City on Wednesday September 24, 2020.
“I feel that as a female journalist, I have a privilege” to tell the stories that have been ignored of Kashmiri women caught up in a conflict zone, Zahra said. “You have to speak on their behalf.”
Her constant concern is that if she doesn’t take the photos, doesn’t do the reporting, then “nobody will come to know about this. As a Kashmiri, this is my story too. I feel a privilege working in my community.”
She has seen the posts on social media, heard the whispers as she went about her work that she was a “mukhbir,” a government informer. “People stare at me because they are not used to seeing a woman with a camera,” she said.
For telling others of the women of Kashmir, Masrat Zahra has been chosen as the 12th recipient of the Peter Mackler Award for courageous and ethical journalism.
The Award is a project of the Global Media Forum Training Group (GMFTG), a 501 (C) (3) organization. Partners include the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, Reporters Without Borders and Agence France-Presse.