Unless you were living under the proverbial rock over the summer, you saw the 40-second video of Iranian student Neda Aghan-Soltan’s death during the uprising in that country after an obviously-rigged national election. The person who captured the video remains anonymous, probably because they fear extreme retribution from the Iranian government for sharing it with the world, but now that person has been awarded one of journalism’s highest honors for capturing the grainy footage on a cell phone.
Yes, the endlessly disturbing Neda video has been awarded a Polk award, the first time such an award has been bestowed on an unknown person. Reports the Chicago Sun-Times:
The curator of the awards, John Darnton, said in a statement that the footage from Iran, while anonymously recorded and distributed, had been seen by millions of people and had become “an iconic image of the Iranian resistance.”
“This award celebrates the fact that, in today’s world, a brave bystander with a cell phone camera can use video-sharing and social networking sites to deliver news,” he said.
The video of the death of music student Neda Agha-Soltan, shot during protests of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election, made her name a rallying cry for the opposition and sparked international outrage at the harsh response of security forces.