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A women’s journalism group has canceled an award for courage given to a Palestinian reporter in Gaza

LONDON: A group that represents women in journalism has canceled the Courage in Journalism award it gave to Palestinian journalist Maha Hussaini this month.

The decision by the International Women’s Media Foundation follows a report by the Washington Free Beacon, a conservative publication in the US, that a freelance writer based in Gaza published messages on social media several years ago in which he praised acts of terrorism on at least two occasions Hamas and shared anti-Semitic cartoons.

The foundation said the comments in the posts “contrary to the values ​​of our organization” and added: “Both the Courage Awards and IWMF’s mission are based on integrity and opposition to intolerance. We do not and will not condone or support views or statements inconsistent with these principles.”

On June 10, Hussaini was named one of four recipients of the Courage Award for her reporting during the Gaza war. Her work included a story about the challenges women faced in giving birth at home during the conflict, and a harrowing account of a young girl who carried her paralyzed brother to safety during military bombing campaigns.

The IWMF describes itself as “a bold and inclusive organization that supports journalists where they are”. Its board of directors and advisory board include prominent media figures such as former CNN journalist Suzanne Malveaux, Hannah Allam of the Washington Post, and CNN news anchor Christiane Amanpour.

Hussaini condemned the decision to withdraw the award, accusing the Washington-based foundation of “bowing to pressure” and “deciding to act contrary to courage”. She added that it “starkly demonstrates the systematic physical and moral attacks that Palestinian journalists endure throughout their careers.”

In a message posted on social media platform X, she added: “Each announcement of an award to a Palestinian journalist is systematically followed by extensive smear campaigns and intense pressure on award-winning organizations by supporters of the Israeli occupation and the Zionist lobby.

“While some organizations stand by their principles and stand by their decision … others, unfortunately, succumb to pressure and withdraw their awards.”

Hussaini said she “doesn’t regret any of the posts” and said her social media comments reflected her experience of living under Israeli occupation and simply expressed support for resistance efforts.

The foundation’s decision was widely criticized by journalists and media groups. Some claimed Hussaini was the victim of a “vicious campaign,” while others described the Washington Free Beacon’s output as “decadent and unethical” and said he had a history of targeting supporters of the Palestinian cause.

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