A British-Iranian journalist who has reported from some of the world’s most dangerous countries, been shot at and tends to travel without security has admitted her mother is ‘dying’ for her to get an office job.
Ramita Navai, 44, the daughter of an officer in the pre-revolutionary Iranian navy, won the British Journalism Award for foreign reporting this month for her new film, Isis And The Battle For Iraq.
In the documentary, produced for Channel 4’s Dispatches team, she went undercover in the province of Diyala and explored allegations of abuses on Sunni civilians by Shia militias fighting alongside the Iraqi army.
Amid constant gunfire and explosions, she interviewed soldiers, refugees and politicians.
Ramita Navai is an award winning journalist who has reported from more than thirty countries
The 44-year-old was presented with the ‘foreign affairs journalism’ award at the British Journalism Awards earlier this month
Navai admitted that her work in dangerous countries made her parents feel uneasy
But the documentary-maker admits her work in hostile territories made her parents feel nervous.
She told the Evening Standard: ‘My mum is just dying for me to get an office job in East Sheen. My dad is now just resigned to the fact this is what I do. They worry a lot.’
She added: ‘Normally I don’t travel with security. I like to operate below the radar. That is why I am not gung-ho. The Iraq set-up took months.’
Navai, who has also investigated criminal gangs, human traffickers and ISIS in Syria, said she’d been shot at ‘a number of times’ and seen a suicide bomber blow himself up moments before carrying out an attack.
She described her most dangerous reporting experience as looking into the disappearance of hundreds of Honduran women in Central America in 2010 and 2012.
The documentary maker’s latest investigation was called ‘Isis And The Battle For Iraq’
Navai said she hoped her documentary would lead to change but admitted this ‘rarely happens’.
When she was presented with her award this month the judges described the film as ‘different and vital to understanding the future of Iraq’.
They said: ‘The reports added something different and vital to understanding the future of Iraq: the role of the Shia militias and the fear they spread amongst Sunnis.
‘Navai is brave (like everyone else this category) but she opened up a new road of understanding: cool, direct, inclusive, with a real sense of time and place.’
Navai hoped her documentary would lead to change but admitted this ‘rarely happens’