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Friday Dec 15 2017
Web Desk

Good journalism in humanitarian reporting celebrated at CEJ-IBA

Web Desk
Winners and runners-up with CEJ-IBA Director Kamal Siddiqui. Photo courtesy: CEJ-IBA

KARACHI: To acknowledge good journalism conducted in the field of humanitarian reporting, the Centre for Excellence in Journalism at the Institute of Business Administration (CEJ-IBA), Karachi and the International Committee of the Red Cross organised the Humanitarian Reporting Award 2017 ceremony on Friday.

According to a statement issued by the centre, the awards were given in three categories – mainstream broadcast (Urdu), mainstream print and online (Urdu) and mainstream print and online (English) for news stories published between November 1, 2016 and November 9, 2017.

The winner in the mainstream broadcast (Urdu) category was Khawar Khan from Geo News for his story on medicines without cold chain management. The runner-up was the category is Umar Farooq from Voice of America Urdu for his story on issues of to the school for Sikh children.

In the mainstream print and online (Urdu) category, the winner was Islam Gul Afridi from Akhbar-e-Khyber for his story on increase in the number of AIDS patients in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Federally Administered Tribal Areas. The runner-up in the category was Fariha Fatima from ARY News for her story on the Robinhood Army’s fight against hunger.

The winner in the mainstream print and online (English) category was Shazia Hassan from Dawn Media Group for her story on the ghosts of Gadani, while the runner-up was Ghulam Dastgeer from Herald Magazine for his story titled ‘Walking the line in times of conflict’.

The ceremony kicked off with a welcome note by CEJ Director Kamal Siddiqi, who shared some details of CEJ’s collaboration with ICRC that began with workshops on humanitarian reporting and concluded with these awards.

“We received more than 200 applications for a workshop of 20 journalists, which shows the overwhelming interest in the media for humanitarian reporting,” he said, adding that CEJ and ICRC decided to conduct two workshops and hold these awards to acknowledge good journalism in humanitarian work.

ICRC Pakistan Communications Coordinator Najum Abbasi said their institution recognises the efforts of CEJ-IBA for its relenting efforts in making this initiative a success.

“The collaboration with CEJ will continue in 2018 in an effort to continue inspiring and encouraging media to write, talk, and debate on humanitarian issues in an objective and non-partisan manner by keeping the interests of those affected by such issues at the heart of its reporting,” he said.

There were 185 submissions received for the Humanitarian Award 2017 and the winners were shortlisted by a panel of distinguished journalists, including Aaj Television News Director Aamer Ahmed Khan, Executive Producer at Geo News Munazza Siddiqui and The Express Tribune KP, FATA Bureau Head Iftikhar Firdous.

On the occasion, Firdous spoke to the audience about the casualties and importance of humanitarian reporting. “There is frustration in people when disasters or aspects of disasters are not covered properly,” he said. “Some of the most interesting stories came from Baluchistan. They were not big stories but were based on everyday struggles.” Unfortunately, he added, they could not be selected due to weak editing and failure to meet the criteria.

Pleased and excited to have won an award, journalist Islam Gul Afridi talked about the difficulties in gathering data due to the stigma attached to AIDS. The security operations and sectarian issues mean they find it harder to access the medicine, a hindrance that proves to be fatal, he said.

The ceremony concluded with a speech by the chief guest, Shehzad Roy, who shared his experiences of working in humanitarian and disaster-hit areas. He appreciated the importance of acknowledging good journalism and stressed that there is still a long way to go. “We have freedom of speech but not freedom after speech,” he said.