SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

Freelance photojournalist Masrat Zahra, praised for her moving images of conflict in Indian-administered Kashmir, was named Thursday the winner of the 2020 Anja Niedringhaus Courage in Photojournalism Award.

The prestigious award recognizes the courageous work of women photojournalists working in difficult situations.

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) honored Zahra in the name of German photojournalist Anja Niedringhaus who was killed in Afghanistan in 2014.

The $20,000 (€17,500) prize is awarded annually by IWMF, which since 1990, has been fighting for press freedom and supporting courageous female journalists.

The jury said Zahra’s work lends closeness to her subjects, which requires a huge level of courage.

“We are deeply honoured to recognise the work of Masrat and others. Our winner and honourees this year exhibited stunning emotion, dynamic composition and most significantly, put themselves in direct contact with those experiencing immediate suffering, at immense personal risk,” the women’s body said in a statement.

Zahra told Anadolu Agency: “When I heard the news, I could not believe it. It was shockingly pleasant. I am happy that my work has been recognized.”

She said: “Working in a place like Kashmir is very difficult but the award is an acknowledgement and at the same time it is a tribute to all those journalists working in Kashmir who risk their lives, face continuous threats.”

Zahra was recently charged under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for her work which she uploaded in social media posts. Under the stringent law, a suspect could be jailed for up to seven years.

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