On 7th October 2019, RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR) celebrated the courage of television journalist, Alex Crawford who, for decades, has covered some of the most brutal and dangerous wars and conflicts taking place around the globe, not shying away from areas of combat and direct threats to her life in order to be able to report the truth about the lives of civilians, caught in the middle.
On the 13th anniversary of Anna Politkovskaya’s murder, RAW in WAR honoured Alex Crawford with the 2019 Anna Politkovskaya Award for her courage and determination, as well as her objective and in-depth reporting on war and conflict zones in the Middle East, Africa and South-East Asia, including those which receive little coverage otherwise. Alex Crawford has worked as a foreign correspondent since 2005 and is currently Sky News Special Correspondent. She has reported from the Arab Spring and Hong Kong and has borne witness to the wars in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia, Cameroon, Mali, and Syria, as well as crimes against humanity committed in Myanmar against the Rohingya.
During her career as a journalist Alex has been arrested, detained, abducted, interrogated, faced live bullets, tear-gas, rubber bullets, IEDs, and mortar shells. Her filming provided the first independent evidence about the suffering of stranded Rohingya, fleeing human rights violations in Myanmar.
On Alex Crawford receiving the 2019 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Lord Frank Judd, a member of the 2019 Award Nominations Committee, said:
“In the best traditions of Anna, Alex Crawford is a powerful example of courage, integrity, and the constant commitment to truth for journalists across the world. Such journalism is vital for freedom and accountable government. It is disturbing how so many journalists of the highest calibre are being persecuted or killed across the world for their refusal to compromise.”
She was praised for her reporting from Libya where, repeatedly, she was the only journalist covering the advancement of the anti-Gaddafi rebels in situations many others considered too dangerous to enter. Whilst trapped in Zawiya, she and her crew provided the first proof Colonel Gaddafi was firing on his own unarmed citizens.
In May this year she was in Idlib, Syria, when she and her crew were targeted and came under direct attack – most likely because they were journalists. Her team’s reporting from Liberia at the epicentre of the Ebola outbreak prompted the Government to mobilise help and galvanised international reaction including raising more funds to address the Ebola crisis there. She has published two books about her experiences in Libya, as well as about working in war and conflict more generally.
Among the many awards she has received, she has been named “Journalist of the Year” an unprecedented five times by the Royal Television Society. On receiving the 2019 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Alex Crawford said:
“This award is for all the women journalists out there – who you don’t know about – who are being tortured, killed, raped and harassed – right now – while trying to expose the truth. Is this the world we want? Can you honestly sleep at night knowing a woman who could be your mother or your daughter – is being gang raped for being a journalist and challenging a Government? Or is being blown up for exposing corruption? Are you ok with thinking it’s happening far away, to a journalist you don’t know in countries you’re not familiar with? Because it’s happening on all our doorsteps, right now. We must not forget them. We must not forget Anna. Because Anna is all of us. And if we don’t defend her, and stand up for all journalists, evil will have won.”
The bravery of Alex Crawford has been recognized widely and RAW in WAR’s Nominations Committee for the 2019 Anna Politkovskaya Award joins in expressing its high appreciation of the courageous journalistic work delivered by her, and in showing its respect for her unwavering commitment to bringing out and reporting the truth from dangerous and hostile places. The news provided by Alex has helped audiences to get a better understanding of the world around us. Her brave and non-prejudiced reporting has helped to preserve the dignity and humanity of those living through the brutal reality of war and conflict.
On announcing the winners of the 2019 Anna Politkovskaya Award, Leila Alikarami, 2009 Award winner from Iran and a member of the 2019 Award Nominations Committee, said:
“Moving forward with our struggle for justice and human rights, we need to continue educating the masses so that they will peacefully resist State violence. We must teach our children, the younger generation, to never forget the history of our struggle, and we must explain to them that justice can best be achieved through patience and tolerance. Journalists are playing crucial roles in raising the awareness of people
about the atrocities that are happening in every corner of the world. In doing so,many of them have paid the price with their lives. Why? Because dictators are afraid of people’s power when the level of awareness and education is raised.
Anna Politkovskaya was killed because she was pushing so hard to uncover corruption and injustice. But many other journalists, like Alex Crawford, have continued her struggle. With these brave journalists, our children will hopefully live in a more peaceful world.”
The award will be presented to the winner in London, on 7th March 2020, at RAW in WAR’s ‘Refusing to be Silenced’ event, part of the 2020 Women of the World (WOW) Festival at the London’s Southbank Centre.