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may chidiac 0209A Lebanese journalist who was maimed in a car bomb attack five years ago vowed she would never be silenced after winning the International Press Institute’s award for heroism on Thursday.

The Vienna-based IPI said that May Chidiac’s bravery since losing one of her hands and one of her legs when a bomb went off under her car in September 2005 had been a source of inspiration for journalists around the world.

“May Chidiac’s refusal as a journalist to bow to the threat of violence nearly cost her her life, but has won her admiration around the world for her courage and resilience,” IPI director David Dadge said in a statement.

Chidiac, a journalist for the private LBC network who has been openly critical of Syria’s influence in neighbouring Lebanon, said she herself was inspired by the work of colleagues who have lost their lives.

“I will never regret speaking my mind,” she said.

“I have to be the voice of those who are not here anymore. This is now my mission. Nothing will ever stop me from saying the truth and what should be said.”

Chidiac returned to work in July 2006 after undergoing a series of operations in Paris to attach an artificial hand and leg in the wake of the attack on the northern outskirts of the Lebanese capital Beirut.

Lebanon was plagued by a series of assassinations and attempted assassinations between October 2004 and September 2005, notably the murder of former premier Rafiq Hariri in a massive February 14 bomb blast.

Two other Lebanese journalists, Samir Kassir and Gebran Tueni, were among those killed in similar attacks.

Other journalists to have recently been honoured by the IPI include the assassinated Russian reporter Anna Politkovskaya and Sri Lankan correspondent Lasantha Wickrematunge who was shot dead in January 2009. AFP

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