“We, the IWMF, can no longer hold an event at a venue whose owner stands for the violation of the very human rights we fight for,” said Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director of the the IWMF. “As a consequence to the introduction of Sharia law in Brunei, we have decided to cancel our contract with the Beverly Hills Hotel and move this year's Courage Awards to another location.”
The owner of the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Sultan of Brunei, has begun instituting a new criminal law in the Southeast Asian nation which by 2015 will make homosexuality and adultery punishable by stoning to death. The Sultan has also issued a warning to the country's online communities that they could face prosecution if they continue to publicly criticize his decision to implement Sharia law.
The IWMF Courage in Journalism Award, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, honors women journalists who set themselves apart by their extraordinary bravery, speaking truth to power in oppressive environments, and continuing to report under dangerous circumstances.
Every year, the annual IWMF Awards ceremony in Los Angeles draws hundreds of high-profile guests from the media and entertainment sector. Prominent hosts and Award presenters have included Angelina Jolie, Meg Ryan, Renee Zellweger, Maria Shriver, Sharon Stone, Olivia Wilde, and Christiane Amanpour.
Please direct all media inquiries and interview requests to IWMF Communications Strategist Anna Schiller (firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 202 567 2613).
About the IWMF. Founded in 1990 by a group of prominent U.S. women journalists, the International Women’s Media Foundation is a Washington-based organization that is dedicated to strengthening the role of women journalists worldwide. The IWMF believes the news media worldwide are not truly free and representative without the equal voice of women. The IWMF celebrates the courage of women journalists who overcome threats and oppression to speak out on global issues. The IWMF’s programs empower women journalists with the training, support and network to become leaders in the news industry.