Brave Women Directors

From email -

In Module 64 [of the Television Production cybertext] it talks about a very brave woman, Saira Shah. It says, "Despite repeated denials by the Taliban, widespread instances of torture, rape, amputations and murder were documented by Saira Shah [in Afghanistan] through the use of a hidden video camera.

"In a country where women were forced to beg for themselves and their children because they were prevented from working and even from going to school, the reporter clearly risked her life to get the footage. As a result, she influenced world thinking about the Taliban." *

She is indeed an inspiration. But, let me tell you about another brave woman.

El-Degheidi of Egypt has done a number of films on the rights of Egyptian women. Her films have tackled prostitution, the selling of women into marriage, drugs, and homosexuality, things that some here don't want brought out.

As a result she is getting death threats from Islamic militants.

In addition to her films, we are also seeing books banned here that these groups don't want people to read.

Please mention El-Degheidi in your materials.

[Name withheld], Cairo, Egypt

Note: We hope with the new leadership this situation will change. -RW

Also from our e-mail:

>>  Although she's not a TV journalist, she is nonetheless one of the bravest of her kind -- Lydia Cacho of Mexico. 

This young woman faced torture, rape and imprisonment simply because she tired to (and successfully did) expose crime in high places in Mexico. 

These crimes included organized forced prostitution of children.  According to The Washington Post, "She is a target in a country where at least 17 journalists have been killed in the past five years and that trailed only Iraq in media deaths during 2006."

[Name withheld]

The list of journalists and people who have produced films and videos that have brought to light major injustices and prompted needed social change is a long one.

The list of people and groups that have tried to stop injustices from being exposed or brought to public awareness is probably even longer.

When such injustices are done in the name of religion, the human violation is even more inexcusable.

Personally, I've always wondered about the validity of any religion or political system that sees its beliefs as being so fragile that it feels it must cut off all opposing ideas in order to survive.

Although we have read about the injustices to women for decades, it's only when we see these things with our own eyes (via television) that they become far more real—and disturbing.

Both El-Degheidi and Saira Shah risked their lives to expose injustice in their countries.

But, it's hard to fully appreciate what they have done until an individual has the personal experience of confronting the imminent possibility of imprisonment or death.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, between 1992 and 2001, 399 journalists have been killed. Four Los Angeles Times reporters were killed while doing their jobs—three overseas and one in Los Angeles.

Suffice it to say, investigating and breaking important stories often carries a degree of professional and personal risk. At the same time, this is the way awards are won and professional careers are advanced—and, far more importantly this is the way wrongs are rectified and needed social change is instituted.

*A feature film that provides a dramatic perspective on this issue is Chasing Freedom, which can be rented from sources such a Netflix.

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