CPJ is honored to present its 2017 International Press Freedom Award to Afrah Nasser, a Yemeni reporter and blogger living in exile in Sweden.
Nasser began contributing to the Yemen Times in 2004 and worked as a reporter for the Yemen Observer in 2008. In 2011, as the uprising began in Yemen, she started blogging about human rights violations and gender issues in the country.
Nasser began receiving death threats in connection with her blogs and stories that were critical of the regime during the 2011 uprising in Yemen. She was also threatened by regime supporters. An April 27, 2011, story she wrote, called “Sorry I won’t let you shush me,” details the warnings she got from people to be “extra cautious” and “not say provocative stuff.” Her response: “Sorry I’m not scared to put my real name out there / Sorry I’m not silent / Sorry I’m still lifting my head high and staying strong.”
In 2011, while at a training session in Sweden, Nasser decided to apply for asylum. She became a political refugee in Sweden that year. From exile, she continues to report on Yemen’s political affairs as a freelance journalist.
Nasser’s work has appeared in outlets including Al-Jazeera English, CNN, The National, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, Middle East Eye, and The Huffington Post. Her work can also be found on her blog.