Female journalists to be honored for their courage

Jill in AmmanFour female journalists will be honored this month in New York City, DC and Los Angeles for their courage. Among them is my dear friend Jill Carroll, who was held hostage in Iraq for nearly three months. Lebanese journalist May Chidiac, who survived an assassiantion attempt last year, will also be honored. Also among the feted is Gao YU from China, who has been jailed twice for her reporting. The award is being presented by the International Women’s Media Foundation. This is a description of what the award is all about:

The only awards program exclusively for international women journalists, the IWMF’s Courage in Journalism Awards honor women journalists who have shown extraordinary strength of character and integrity while reporting the news under dangerous or difficult circumstances. The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a woman journalist who has a pioneering spirit and whose determination has paved the way for future generations of women in the media.

Kudos to all these wonderful journalists for their bravery and resolve. You can find a full list of award recipients here.

Jill tells her story

Jill has published the first part of the 11-part series that details her kidnapping ordeal in the Christian Science Monitor. The whole article can be viewed here.

This series also contains video interviews with her in which she expands on her ordeal. I have to admit though, there were parts in this first section that were hard for me to read. They just broke my heart into a million pieces. This is one of them:

I crawled over to Abu Hassan, the one who seemed more grown-up and sympathetic. His 9mm pistol was by his side, as usual. "You’re my brother, you’re truly my brother," I said in Arabic. "Promise me you will use this gun to kill me by your own hand. I don’t want that knife, I don’t want the knife, use the gun."

The second, third and fourth parts are now up on the site along with a huge assortment of "extras" about the event. Word is, the story is bringing record traffic to the CSM website.

Four arrests made in connection with Jill’s kidnapping

This morning a spokesperson for the US military announced that four people that were connected to the kidnapping of my good friend Jill were arrested in Iraq. Here is a piece of the AP story:

Marines have arrested four Iraqi men in connection with the kidnapping of U.S. journalist Jill Carroll, who was freed last March after 82 days in captivity, a U.S. spokesman said Wednesday. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said the four, who were not identified, were arrested in Anbar province west of Baghdad but he did not say when.

Richard Bergenheim, the editor for Jill’s paper, The Christian Science Monitor, issued a statement:

Jill Carroll and her Monitor colleagues are very grateful for all of the efforts the US government made to secure Jill’s freedom after she was held against her will for 82 days. Like reporters everywhere, we are reassured to hear that several of those believed to have held Jill have been apprehended. The daily threat of kidnapping in Iraq remains acute for all. Everything possible needs to be done to relieve Iraqis and others of this scourge.

I’m glad that those that put my friend through this terrible ordeal and murdered her translator Alan are finally going to be brought to justice. For those following all this, make sure to take a look at Jill’s story told in her own words when it is published in a series of articles in the Monitor starting this Sunday.

Jill Carroll to tell her story

Jill Carroll in AmmanMy good friend Jill Carroll. who was kidnapped in Iraq last January for 82 days, will detail her ordeal in an 11-part series that is scheduled to appear next week. The series will appear in The Christan Science Monitor (on-line as well — with video). According to The Boston Herald:

The 27,500-word series will be the first public accounting by Carroll since her release. It will detail what she did during captivity, the Monitor’s efforts to free her and the "lessons learned," according to Dave Cook, the newspaper’s Washington bureau chief. "This is clearly one of the most widely anticipated and in-depth series that we have run," Cook said.

"In the Monitor’s 98-year history, we’ve never had anyone held captive as long as Jill, and an immense and intense effort went into winning her freedom. We’re extremely grateful that she returned alive and was able to tell her own story."

The series will be a first-person account by Carroll with "contextual narrative" by Peter Grier, a senior writer in the Monitor’s Washington bureau who has spent a lot of time interviewing Carroll. The editing process for the series was an extensive one, Cook said, as Carroll feared that divulging certain details about her captors could result in retaliation. "Jill has taken great care to make sure that nothing she says will harm her colleagues in Baghdad who are still there reporting," Cook said. "We took the concerns seriously." Clips from a videotaped interview of Carroll will be included with the story on the newspaper’s Web site.
Source: [Boston Herald]

Click here to see the ad that the Monitor is running to advertise the series. For those that have been following her ordeal make sure to check out the series that will start next Monday.

UPDATE: The US military is reporting today that they’ve made four arrests in connection with Jill’s kidnapping. Some details are available here and there’s more in a new post here.

Jill named recipient of international media award

The same day that the kidnappers freed American freelancer Jill Carroll, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) named her the recipient of its prestigious Courage in Journalism Award.

Shortly after the news broke of Carroll’s release, the IWMF announced that she would receive the Courage in Journalism Award. The award honors women who show an exceptional commitment to journalistic integrity despite imminent danger. The foundation gives the award to three journalists each year, and Carroll is the first recipient of 2006. It includes a cash prize of US$5,000. The foundation will honor the recipients at two awards dinners: one in New York on October 24 and the second in Los Angeles on November 2. The honorees typically spend the time between the dinners traveling across the country, participating in receptions and panel discussions

Source: [Ijnet]

Jill adresses the CSM

Such a nice gesture and so well deserved. In other development, the Monitor has put up a video of Jill addressing the staff at CSM headquarters in Boston. The video is very touching. I was thrilled to see that Jill is still her old self — a very animated and speedy talker. We love you Jill and can’t wait to see you.

Jill and her family are reunited

I could not control my tears when I saw the pictures of Jill reuniting with her family. What a happy ending! We love you Jill. Welcome back! There’s a wonderful story about her return here and much more here. But make sure to check all the wonderful pictures on The Christian Science Monitor.

Jill is reunited with her family

Upon returning and reuniting with her family Jill said:

I finally feel like I am alive again. I feel so good … To be able to step outside anytime, to feel the sun directly on your face — to see the whole sky. These are luxuries that we just don’t appreciate every day.