Jailed Iranian journalists Nilofar Hamedi and Elahe Mohammadi have won the 2023 Louis M. Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity in Journalism for their “steadfast commitment to producing courageous journalism about issues in Iran affecting women, including the September 2022 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini.”
The winners were chosen by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism’s class of 2023 at Harvard University, Massachusetts.
Hamedi, a reporter for the Tehran-based Shargh Daily, and Mohammadi of the daily newspaper Hammihan were arrested in September for covering the events surrounding Amini’s death in police custody, which sparked an ongoing wave of nationwide protests against the country’s clerical establishment.
The two journalists are accused of “propaganda against the system” and “conspiring to act against national security,” charges that could carry the death penalty.
This year’s class of 24 Nieman Fellows selected Hamedi and Mohammadi because they believe their work “honors the spirit” of the Lyons Award for Conscience and Integrity.
“Hamedi and Mohammadi put their livelihoods and lives on the line, and lost their freedom in the process,” a statement said.
“They knew the grave risks they might face but remained committed to telling Amini’s story. Journalists in Iran are risking their lives on a daily basis to report on the conditions and oppression there.”
The Nieman Fellows will honor Hamedi and Mohammadi during a ceremony this spring at Harvard University.
Iran ranks 178th out of 180 countries in Reporters Without Borders’ 2022 World Press Freedom Index.