Farida Nekzad, Afghanistan

Farida Nekzad is strongly committed to press freedom and women's rights in Afghanistan. She is the current editor in chief of the Pajhwok News Agency, the sole independent news agency in Afghanistan.

She has also reported and taught media clinics for a number of news outlets, such as the Center for International Journalism and the Institute of War and Peace Reporting in Kabul, and has presented on topics such as women in journalism at a number of international conferences. A significant contributor to the blossoming independent media in the country, Nekzad encourages women to work in media and take advantage of the opportunities available to them as a result of the ousting of the Taliban.

Recently, however, there have been many attempts to quash the advances of women in Afghanistan and Nekzad has become the target of a series of harassments and threats. She has received several menacing emails and phone calls threatening the same fate as Zakia Zaki, a female radio broadcaster killed as a result of her work in media. Nekzad lives in constant fear, changing her schedule daily and sleeping in a different room of her house each night. Nonetheless, she is committed to staying in Afghanistan.

Farida Nekzad was nominated for the International Press Freedom Award by the Committee to Protect Journalists