In The Line Of Duty

  • 03 Mar - 09 Mar, 2018
  • Attiya Abbass
  • Spotlight

Women may dominate the schools of journalism but the profession makes for an unconquerable turf for many female journalists who have been anchored down by social taboos, hostile work climate and rounds of harassment. Despite the hindrances thronging their avenues, some women have held their ground braving the odds and obstacles to tell their story – a journalist’s story

Christiane Amanpour

The British-Iranian journalist is the chief International Correspondent for CNN and has reported some of the most newsworthy events for CNN, ABC and CBS. She first garnered interest over her report on Iran, which won the journalist a DuPont Award. She has reported live from the Iran-Iraq war, Bosnian war conflicts and several other war zones. Christiane has been criticised for being very pro-Muslim with her reporting, over which the journalist shared, “My job is to give all sides an equal hearing”.

Kate Adie

Reporting from the heart of war-torn territories around the world, braving bombshells and gunshots, Kathryn Adie is known for her love affair with danger zones – all to tell the story. The English journalist had been Chief News Correspondent for BBC News till she retired and currently presents for From Our Own Correspondent on BBC Radio 4. Noted for her outstanding work as a war reporter, Adie had been dispatched to report disasters and conflicts throughout the 80s. She has reported live from incidents such as the Iranian Embassy siege, American bombing of Tripoli, Lockerbie bombing and many more from different war zones.

Marvi Sirmed

If Marvi Sirmed ever had any qualms about what the critics said about her Indian(ised) style aesthetics, it never leaked into the journalist’s poised and confident disposition – that of a warrior. Marvi’s voice echoes loud and candid for incidents general masses would never forget. She severely admonished and fought to repeal Hudood Ordinances 1979 and strongly advocated for pro-women legislation, especially against domestic violence. But all that Marvi campaigned for and achieved invited consequential threats to her life, family and property. In 2011, her house was ransacked by unidentified men who stole all her identification documents and data devices. The following year, Marvi and her husband survived gunshots. In 2015, she was verbally and physically attacked by a prominent parliamentarian during a TV programme. Amidst harsh rebuke that transcends all stages of abuse, Marvi continues to brave the odds of her profession. She is currently writing as a freelancer for several notable publications.

Gharidah Farooqi

A face many Pakistanis are familiar with due to its incessant presence on talk shows on notable television channels, Gharida Farooqi is a name that needs no introduction. She has worked with prominent television channels and has been hosting a current affairs TV program G for Gharidah since 2015. Despite being a respected public figure renowned for her extensive work in the field of journalism, Gharida was inadvertently subjected to what many women of her profession undergo frequently – harassment, criticism and reprimand. There were daunting times where the journalist was publicly admonished and harassed by notable party workers. But Gharidah is unstoppable, for she has risen unflinching to all odds and beat them to pulp.

Farahnaz Ispahani

Farahnaz Ispahani spent the formative years of her career as a print and television journalist. Her last journalistic position was as Executive Producer and Managing Editor of Voice of America's Urdu TV. She has also worked at ABC News, CNN and MSNBC and has contributed opinion pieces to the Wall Street Journal, The National Review and The Huffington Post.

Currently working as a Global Fellow, Asia Programme at Wilson Centre, Washington D.C., Ms Ispahani served as MNA from 2008-2012. While in the parliament she focused on the issues of terrorism, human rights, gender-based violence, minority rights and US-Pakistan relations. The most notable pieces of legislation enacted with her active support include those relating to Women’s Harassment in the Workplace and Acid Crimes and Control, which made disfiguring of women by throwing acid at them a major crime. She was also a member of the Women’s caucus in the 13th National Assembly. The caucus, which straddled political divides, was instrumental in introducing more legislation on women’s issues than has ever been done before during a single parliamentary term.

She was among the list of Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy and Top 100 Women Who Matter by Newsweek Pakistan; hence, carving her name as one of the most influential journalists of her time.

Beena Sarwar

Across the world, it may take mere guts to voice the controversial, but in Pakistan it may cost you your life. Fearless and mettlesome in the society of blood-hounds, you have to be a journalist like Beena Sarwar to stay afloat of all the menace thrown your way and still rise. As a journalist, artist and film-maker, she has strongly advocated for human rights, gender, media and peace. She has extensively written, read and spoken about the political and societal demons that reside in the society. Carving the possibilities to trump the tyrants with just her words, Beena has become an invincible journalist that feels no fear in calling a spade, a spade.

Nasim Zehra

A rare-bred journalist and writer, Nasim Zehra has led an illustrious career as a primetime current affairs talk show host. In the times where newsrooms are considered a man’s arena, it’s people like Nasim who have turned the tables. She has worked as a development practitioner, working with the Canadian International Development Agency and Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and has also served as a visiting lecturer at the School of Advanced International Studies at the Johns Hopkins University in 2006, as well as at the Quaid-e-Azam University in 2010. She has enjoyed the honour of working for notable TV channels in the past. Although she has beckoned a lot of criticism her way, she is a living proof that newsrooms aren’t entirely a man’s realm.