Mahassen al-Emam, Jordan, is the director and founder of the Arab Women Media Center (AWMC), a nongovernmental organization in Jordan that trains women journalists and helps promote the role of media in democracy.
Al-Emam began her career at a time when it was virtually unheard of to have a woman journalist in the Arab world. When male editors refused to send her to cover the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, she went at her own expense and wrote one of the first articles from inside a female prison in Iraq. After returning to Jordan, al-Emam reported for several Jordanian publications, two of which were shut down by the government, and was arrested several times. In 1994, al-Emam became Jordan’s first female newspaper editor-in-chief. At the three weeklies she edited over the years, al-Emam frequently pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable for newspapers to publish in Jordan. In October 2002, she was awarded the Knight International Press Fellowship Award for “defying governmental restrictions and ignoring limitations imposed by her male counterparts.”