CHICAGO
07/22/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Roxana Saberi Speaks At Medill Graduation, Lauds Courage Of Iranian Citizen Journalists (VIDEO)

Journalist Roxana Saberi, released from prison in Iran last month, has been honored by Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.

At graduation ceremonies Saturday, Saberi was given the Medill Medal for Courage in Journalism. She graduated from Medill in 1999.

She told graduates that the experience of being imprisoned gave her new insight into the meaning of courage.

Saberi, who lived in Iran for six years and has dual citizenship, was arrested Jan. 31 and charged with spying for the United States.

She was sentenced to eight years in prison, but an appeals court reduced that to a two-year suspended sentence and released her on May 11.

Northwestern students, faculty and alumni had rallied for her release and participated in an international hunger strike.

-ASSOCIATED PRESS

Watch clips of Saberi's remarks in this FOX Chicago report:

Saberi expanded on the themes of her speech in an op-ed in Sunday's Chicago Tribune. She praised the crucial role Iranian citizens have played in disseminating information, citing the example of one friend eager to upload protest photos to Facebook:

He is only one of many ordinary Iranians informing the world about the momentous events taking place in Iran since the country's disputed June 12 presidential election. As traditional media outlets and foreign journalists have faced mounting government restrictions on their reporting, "citizen journalists" have stepped in.

Through e-mails, blogs and social-networking Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter, they have been disseminating photos, video and eyewitness accounts of street clashes and violence between anti-government demonstrators and Iranian security forces and militiamen.

Saberi believes these Iranians have been willing to assume the risks that come with performing a journalist's work because they "have become increasingly aware of their basic rights and feel that this is the moment to get involved to shape their futures -- despite potential risks to their own welfare."

Read the entire piece here.