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Camille Mackler’s welcome remarks

Dear Masra,

Our family, myself, my mother and my sister, are honored and privileged to offer you this award for your courage in journalism in the name of my father, Peter Mackler.

Every year, when our partner, Reporters without Borders, shares with us a list of deserving journalists to receive the award, we struggle to pick just one out of a list of outstanding individuals working tirelessly to report the truth in their country.

This year, you stood out for us because everything in what you do, in what you say reminds us of Peter. You have the same passion, the same dedication, the same drive to bear witness. 

He would have been proud of you. He would have wanted to take you under his wing and transmit his knowledge and long experience with reporting in war zones. He covered conflicts in Serbia, Iraq and Afghanistan and knew many of the same kind of pressures you experience in Kashmir.  He would also appreciate the extra hurdles you face as a Muslim woman. 

We were deeply moved by your photographs documenting women in your country, women behind veils, women pushed back as if unimportant, women who nevertheless fiercely argue with soldiers, women who keep their dignity and face danger up front.

We hope this award will send a message that your work matters a great deal. That your dedication and professionalism is a gift to all of us and that it needs to be protected, not threatened.

Masrat, with this award you join a family of courageous reporters. Before you, we honored women who fight a similar fight as yours against bigotry and harassment like Asma Shirazi in Pakistan and Zaina Erhaim from Syria.  We honored men, like Marcos Vizcarra in Mexico and Lukpan Akhmedyarov in Kazakhstan, who steadfastly kept reporting without regard for their own safety. Some of them have paid a very high personal price. But they all kept at it and in the end they prevailed. I also want to mention Faisal Mohamed Salih who received the prize in 2013 who is now minister of information for the democratic government of Sudan, contributing his passion for fairness and transparency to this fragile nation. Masrat, welcome to our family.

Remarks delivered over zoom, from New York, NY, on September 24, 2020