Photojournalist Addario Accepts the Excellence in International Reporting Award

Thank you. Thank you, Andrew, for being here and for representing Warner.

It is a great honor to receive this award from the International Center for Journalists, and I would like to thank the ICFJ for recognizing my work. I would also like to congratulate the other winners: Jorge Ramos, Yoani Sánchez and Priyanka Dubey. Your presentations were incredible.

It is a difficult time for journalism and more than ever, we need organizations like the ICFJ, which support good, in-depth journalism as a catalyst for change around the world. We have entered a time when journalists are increasingly under attack, simply for carrying out our work. We have watched our friends and colleagues disappear, some detained and imprisoned by oppressive regimes, some kidnapped by rouge militias in search of a ransom, and we have sadly watched fellow journalists executed on public display.

When I started covering war 16 years ago in Afghanistan, and then Iraq, I felt my title as a foreign correspondent provided me with a shield of security—an immunity that no one could ever disrespect. I proudly wore a press badge publicly, and we all pasted massive letters 'TV' on our cars, which was the universal sign for international correspondents.

I look back now, and think about how much has changed — I, like so many colleagues, do everything I can to work under the radar. The 'TV' signs have come off, and we move around in low-profile cars, disguised by headscarves and freshly-grown beards.

While there is little remaining sanctity in our work, we must continue to believe in the power of journalism to change the world. We can educate people, change misconceptions about a society or an idea, and enlighten. We can influence policy makers to act, to respond to a humanitarian crisis, to condemn human rights violations.

I accept this award not only on my own behalf, but also on behalf of all the brave translators and drivers who have fearlessly worked with me from Iraq to Afghanistan to Pakistan to Lebanon to Congo to Darfur and to Libya.

I dedicate this award to those who have lost their lives, colleagues and friends, Anthony Shadid, Chris Hondros, Tim Hetherington, Anja Niedringhaus, James Foley, Marie Colvin, and my own drivers, Raza Khan and Mohammed Shalgouf.

I want to thank my husband, Paul De Bendern, for standing by me in both the best and worst of times, and for understanding so intrinsically what drives me to do this work, and for enabling me to continue to do it. I also want to thank my son, for inspiring me every day of your young life, and for bringing me back to life after having suffered a great deal of loss. And of course, my parents, who are here tonight, who have empowered me and believed in me and encouraged me to follow through with my dreams since I was a young woman. They’ve been so selfless. Thank you so much.