Bisan Owda

Palestinian journalist Bisan Owda stands on a street in Gaza, amid buildings destroyed by Israel's attacks since October.

(Photo: @wizardbisan/X)

'Indomitable' Gaza Journalist Bisan Owda Awarded Peabody for War Coverage

"We rise simply to document the genocide happening to our people," said the Palestinian reporter who dedicated her award to protesters around the world speaking out against Israel's military assault.

"It's Bisan from Gaza and I'm still alive."

The line has become familiar to social media users and viewers of the Al Jazeera Media Network's show of the same name, hosted by Palestinian journalist and activist Bisan Owda. On Thursday the show was lauded by the Peabody Awards Board of Jurors as it awarded Owda one of journalism's highest honors.

"Despite a lack of clean water and the increasing scarcity of food, she draws on her indomitable spirit to keep the world informed," said the board. "For showing bravery and persistence in the midst of imminent danger, and for carrying a heavy journalistic burden as the entire world looks on, It's Bisan from Gaza and I'm Still Alive is honored with a Peabody Award."

Since Owda first broadcast from her bombarded home of Gaza in early November, less than a month into the Israeli onslaught that has now killed at least 34,904 Palestinians, she has given viewers a glimpse into how civilians across the enclave are impacted by air and ground attacks.

Her first broadcast—opening with the words: "Good morning, everyone. This is Bisan from Gaza. I'm smiling because I'm alive"—documented the makeshift tent encampment Owda was living in at Al-Shifa Hospital, after fleeing her home in Beit Hanoun with her family.

Since then Owda has interviewed her neighbors and documented the spread of disease at overcrowded shelters; the plight of families forced to leave northern Gaza due to Israel's total blockade on aid, pushing them toward starvation; and her family's experience marking Ramadan "in the rubble" left by relentless Israeli airstrikes.

On Thursday, Save the Children International featured Owda's reporting on Israel's takeover of the Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt border as it invaded the city of Rafah this week.

"No people can evacuate to a safe place, no humanitarian aid trucks entering," she said in the video. "Now I am in the middle of Rafah, and these people behind me are trying to gather their stuff. Their mattresses, some food. And they're taking now their stuff again to be displaced again after living [here] for months."

Accepting the Peabody, Owda said she and other journalists in Gaza "rise simply to document the genocide happening to our people."

"The victory of the Palestinian cause was never just for Palestinians," she said. "It is rather a victory for humanity."

She dedicated the award to people around the world who are helping to defeat "one of the [Israeli] occupation's strongest tools": dividing people "so we can never support one another."

"I dedicate this award to all the college students who are protesting," she said. "To all the people who took to the streets. To all the people at home who are participating in boycotts. To all the people worldwide, regardless of their religion, color, and ethnicity. Regardless of what makes them different, they're united in one mission: in their demands for a free Palestine. You deserve this award. And so do we."

"And one day, this genocide will end," she continued. "And Palestine will be free. And we will welcome you here on Gazan soil. All of you... Thank you so much for this award and for always supporting us, standing by us, and for continuing to do so until we reach our demands: an end to the genocide, a cease-fire, and a free Palestine."

Tony Karon, editorial lead at AJ+, which has collaborated with Owda since Israel's onslaught began, applauded Owda's "heroic storytelling."

"We strive to tell the human story from where the missiles land, to elevate the human spirit and the hope that it brings for better days, to shine a light on places and stories those in power would rather keep shrouded in darkness," he said.

Zahira Jaher, a professor at University of Sussex in the U.K., said Owda and other journalists in Gaza "are rewriting how reporting is done... She is the future of Palestine."

The award was announced days after the Pulitzer Prize Board awarded a "special citation" for all journalists covering Israel's attack on Gaza—without giving recognition to those who are reporting from the frontlines, more than 100 of whom have been killed by Israeli forces.

"No one deserves this award more than Bisan, who is risking her life to ensure that the world bears witness to Israel's atrocities," said writer and foreign policy analyst Tariq Kenney-Shawa. "But no award will bring back the over 100 Palestinian journalists Israel has killed over the last seven months."

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