March 06, 2015
ISLAMABAD: Farahnaz Zahidi Moazzam, senior sub-editor at The Express Tribune, has been selected by Women Deliver, a global organization that works for girls and women’s rights and wellbeing, as one of the 15 most powerful female journalists around the world for her stories on women’s health and rights.
In an interview with JournalismPakistan.com, she said her selection means that there is more to Pakistan than terrorism, violence against women, poverty and corruption.
“It means Pakistani women have a voice. They speak. They are heard. My pride is being a Pakistani and part of this awesome nation,” she said.
Farahnaz said her inspiration is the strength of the human spirit, especially Pakistanis and women in particular. “I have connected with women across the world in the course of my work: from villages in Africa to areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Tharparkar and have realized that women are more similar than we know. They are the backbone of communities,” she said.
She said that tragic stories about the girls and women usually get headlines in both the print and electronic media but her focus always remains on the positive stories.
“In the red light area of Lahore, the story that touches me most is the mother who has succeeded in getting her daughter admitted in a medical college. The women suffering from obstetric fistula for decades get treated at Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and Koohee Goth Karachi - that's my stories,” she said.
“The poor Hindu woman gang raped in Tharparkar, after the story I wrote, gets justice because the Chief Justice takes suo moto - that's my motivation,” she said.
Farahnaz is a writer, editor, photojournalist and blogger. She is also a peace and gender activist and teaches students of media sciences as visiting faculty. With a Masters in English Literature and a keen love of languages, she teaches classical Arabic and takes interactive classes in theology, comparative religion and Islam.
She said the award would not help improve her work but would definitely help place Pakistan in a positive light globally. “Pakistani women are strong and empowered. Their stories will be more widely read. That's enough award,” she said.
Advising aspiring female journalists, she said they should not write for a local or foreign audience or for any other motive rather they should focus on writing on the issues they believe in without compromising on the ethics.
“Journalism is a wonderful profession that allows us to contribute to our communities and the world. One should use that opportunity responsibly. Whatever is written with honesty and passion has a way of reaching the hearts of your audience and readers,” she said.
Farahnaz is a lively and jolly person as her joys in life are chaai (tea), travel, books and motherhood.
The Women Deliver will now select top three journalists from the list of 15 through an online voting contest. To vote for Farahnaz, one can visit http://www.womendeliver.org/vote-for-your-favorite-journalists-delivering-for-girls-and-women. The voting closes on March 20.