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Jakarta Journalist Wins Yap Tham Hien Award

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JAKARTA JOURNALIST WINS YAP THAM HIEN AWARD

JAKARTA (Jakarta Post/Pacific Media Watch): Journalist Maria Margaretha Hartiningsih of the Kompas daily has become the first journalist to win the annual Yap Thiam Hien human rights award, the jury of the award announced here on Friday.

The head of the committee of jurors, Soetandyo Wignjosoebroto, said she was awarded for being a "human rights educator" through her articles, which are "consistent in the effort to uphold and educate on human rights".

The award was introduced in 1992, and has been influential in efforts to increase awareness of human rights in the country. Last year it was awarded to Wiji Thukul, a poet who has been missing since 1997.

The jury's press release noted that Maria's sensitivity toward those suffering could be recognized in her writing; "not only those suffering as victims of a patriarchal system but also as victims of a repressive and greedy regime". Her articles "always intend to change unjust values or rules", it added.

Maria, a journalist since 1984, is known for her coverage of local, regional and global developments concerning the urban poor, women and the environment. Her articles are among those on the daily's Swara weekly page, which focuses on various issues with a gender perspective.

Her investigative reports include those on women trafficking in Thailand and Cambodia, poverty and street children in Brazil and on Indonesian women migrant workers in Hong Kong.

Maria, who recently completed a post graduate program in women's studies at the University of Indonesia, has also frequently been asked to be a juror in several writing contests and also of the Urban Innovation Management Project competition this year. She is also the recipient of a number of journalism awards.

Several organizations have also sought her out as a resource person in training sessions on journalism and other issues such as human rights. From 1997 to 1998 she was also a visiting scholar at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle, the United States.

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