Kashmiri photojournalist Masrat Zahra has been named by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) for the Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award on Thursday.
The award is named after German photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus to honor her inspiring life. Anja which was killed in 2014 in Afghanistan. The $20,000 (€17,500) prize is awarded annually by the IWMF, which since 1990 has been fighting for press freedom and supporting courageous female journalists.
IWMF Executive Director Elisa Lees Munoz said: “Countless communities around the world are facing enormous threat, harm and censorship due to governmental threats and the declining state of press freedom worldwide.” She added: “During these times, Anja’s legacy reminds us that it’s the communities beneath the headlines who are the true targets of civil and social brutality.”
The freelance photojournalist’s images depicting conflict in Kashmir and its toll on local communities were praised by the jury for their “humanity” and her particular focus on the stories of women.
Zahra, who was born in the city of Srinagar, provides an emotional glimpse into daily life inside the Kashmir with her photographs, which the jury described as filled with a sense of “dread and community.” Zahra said receiving the award “shows that the work of journalists like me coming from small places is being acknowledged.”
“I hope this honor will encourage me to perfect my skills and do my work more confidently. I also expect it to inspire other women photographers who are working in difficult environments,” she added.