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Asia Society honors Saad Mohseni with Asia Game Changer Award

September 17, 2014

In 2001, after the Taliban government was removed from power in Afghanistan, Saad Mohseni knew what he had to do — move back to his homeland and start rebuilding. Mohseni left Australia for Kabul and, together with his siblings, launched Afghanistan’s first private radio station, Arman FM. That first venture spawned MOBY Group, now Afghanistan's largest private media company, best known for groundbreaking brands such as Tolo TV, Tolonews, Lemar TV, and Farsi1.

Mohseni is Afghanistan’s first true media mogul, and as such he makes history on a regular basis. Earlier this year, Mohseni’s Tolonews organized and aired the country’s first live televised presidential debate, a decidedly modern-looking affair that The Wall Street Journal said showed “an increasingly sophisticated approach to political campaigning.”

When Mohseni returned to Afghanistan, he found an utterly barren media landscape — the Taliban had banned television — and today that landscape is as rich and varied as any in the region. “I always liked the media, because you can really influence people, particularly younger people,” Mohseni has said. “One of the reasons Afghanistan has not exploded is that the media give people an outlet.”

Afghanistan Journalists Center presents journalism awards

March 19, 2014

KABUL: Marking the national Journalist’s Day, Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC) honored two Afghan journalists with Journalist of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Awards on March 18 in Kabul.

By the initiative of AFJC, March 18 was named as national Journalist’s Day and was celebrated in Kabul and other cities of Afghanistan to acknowledge the significant role of journalists in strengthening of a delivered democracy.

Talking to the event, Ahmad Quraishi, Director of Afghanistan Journalists Center highlighted the significant role journalists play in the war torn Afghanistan, especially in the post-Taliban era.

“Since 1993, 42 journalists, writers and other media workers have been killed in Afghanistan - 25 of them, including 16 Afghan Journalists in targeted attacks - and 17 others in conflict situations and as a result of explosions. Meanwhile, two Afghan journalists have been shot dead in Pakistan.” He said.

He added that five of these journalists have been killed in the 1392 solar year (March 21, 2013 to March 20, 2014) as well as 70 incidents of threats, insults and beatings. The involvement of governmental officials, security forces and the Taliban in many of these cases were reported.

Quraishi voiced concerns about the possible increase in violence against journalists after the withdrawal of international troops as well as presidential elections scheduled for April 5th.

The event was attended by officials from the Ministry of Information and Culture, media support groups and journalists. Speakers explained the achievements of media in Afghanistan as well as faced challenges.

During this event, Afghanistan’s Journalist of the Year award was presented to Mr. Malyar Sadeq Azad, BBC Afghanistan reporter for his investigative report on women learning religious studies in Northern Kunduz province. The Lifetime Achievement in Journalism was presented to Mr. Sediqullah Tuhidi for his 25 year distinguished contributions in journalism and outstanding performance and dedication in his profession. Safi Airways supported the program by providing free tickets to Dubai and New Delhi for the winners.

At the end of the event, participants asked to include 18 March as Journalist’s Day in the national calendar and celebrate it every year which was welcomed.  Advisor to the Ministry of Information and Culture supported naming the journalist’s Day.

Marking the national journalist’s day in a war-ravaged country is a significant move to recognize the efforts and dedication of reporters who put their life in risk in reporting.

Majid Saeedi Receives the 2014 FotoEvidence Book Award

For Life in War Depicting Daily Life in Afghanistan

Feb 20, 2014

Svetlana Bachevanova, publisher of FotoEvidence, announced today that Iranian photojournalist Majid Saeedi has received the 2014 FotoEvidence Book Award.  The annual award recognizes a photographer whose work demonstrates courage and commitment in the pursuit of social justice.

Finalists Include:

  • Valerio Bispuri: Encerrados
  • Tanya Habjouqa: Occupied Pleasures
  • Fernando Morales:  Breaking the Circle
  • Joao Pina: Shadow of the Condor.

Work of the winner and finalists can be viewed at FotoEvidence.com:

2014 FotoEvidence Book Award

FotoEvidence will publish Afghanistan: Life in War and mount a show of the work, and that of the four finalists, at the Bronx Documentary Center in New York City on October 16th, when the book will be launched.

The 2014 FotoEvidence Book Award brought more than 50 projects from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas documenting assaults on human dignity from around the world.  The selected projects reveal deplorable conditions in prisons in Latin America, the struggle to break the cycle of incarceration in Africa, the search for normalcy under occupation in the West Bank, an unusual documentation of  a transnational dirty war waged 20 years ago and, finally, the depiction of daily life after four decades of war in Afghanistan.

Reflecting on this year's submissions, Ms. Bachevanova said, " Majid's work contrasts with a lot of what we usually see from Afghanistan because he didn't photograph war. He lived with the people he photographed as one of them.  All the work selected shows dedicated documentary photographers working with imagination and courage to shine a light on suffering and injustice.  The selected projects are both beautiful and provocative. We look forward to exhibiting the work in New York this fall when we release the book."

Life in War by Majid Saeedi provides an intimate, ironic and luminous portrait of Afghan life in the midst of war. Life happens, war or not. People live while the fighting goes on. Insecurity is the norm.  Saeedi lived with his subjects. He did not embed.  He was not an outsider, invader, occupier or infidel.  He did not photograph war. Saeedi's camera captures unguarded moments as people faced with the insecurity of conflict live their daily lives.

Saeedi works in black and white with a style that evokes the best of the tradition of documentary and candid photography.  There are even among his images some that allude to the works of photographers he admires, like Capa and Cartier Bresson.  Saeedi brings a tender and insightful lens to  a subject either sensationalized or ignored in most of the images reaching the West from Afghanistan.

About Majid Saeedi:

Born in Tehran, Saeedi began photographing at the age of 16. At 18, he traveled to the Iran Iraq border to photograph refugees.  He has been the chief photographer for nine newspapers in Iran and has managed photo agencies there. He worked in several war zones during these years. He currently works for Getty Images in the Middle East .

In 2009, during the protests against the election outcome, Saeedi found that his job of providing photographs of unfolding events put him in conflict with Iranian authorities and he was arrested.

Saeedi's work has received widespread international acclamation.  In 2012, Saeedi received the Photographer of the Year award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.  This list of his awards is long, including: UNICEF award 2010, Henri Nannen Award 2010, China International Press Photo Contest (CHIPP)2010 and 2013,  International Photographer of the Year (Lucie ) NY 2011,  World Press Photo 2013, the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA) 2013, and the Lucas Dolega Award 2014.

About FotoEvidence

FotoEvidence is a publishing platform for documentary photographers whose work focuses on social justice and human rights. Founded in 2010 by Svetlana Bachevanova, a long-time photojournalist, FotoEvidence continues the tradition of using photography to draw attention to assaults on human dignity wherever they may occur.

Every year the FotoEvidence Book Award recognizes one photographer, whose project demonstrates courage and commitment in the pursuit of social injustice, with the publication of a hard copy book.

 

About the Bronx Documentary Center

Founded in 2011, the Bronx Documentary Center (BDC) is a non-profit gallery and educational space devoted to documentary projects from around the globe. Located on the ground floor of a recently revitalized building in the South Bronx, the BDC aims to create an engaging environment for local and international photojournalists, artists, filmmakers, critics and educators committed to innovative methods of non-fiction storytelling.

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