Journalist of the Year 2019: Naweed Ahmad Barakzai

Journalist of the Year 2019: Naweed Ahmad Barakzai

19 March 2019

Kabul: Naweed Ahmad Barakzai a journalist from the Pajhwok Afghan News wins 2019 “Afghanistan Journalist of the year” award in a tough competition against tens of other national journalists.

Afghanistan Journalists Centre (AFJC) launched the “Afghanistan Journalists of the Year” award in 2014 to appreciate the professionalism of Afghan journalists and to encourage them to adhere to internationally applied journalism standards in their coverage of events inside Afghanistan.

Mr. Barakzai was deemed by the judges’ committee to have been outstanding in the year under review. He picked up the prize at the awards ceremony celebrating National Journalist’s Day on Monday March 18. Second vice president Sarwar Danish, Deputy minister of the ministry of the information and culture, UN envoy in Afghanistan, Tadamichi Yamamoto, Deputy ambassadors from the UK and German embassies, representatives from the US, Turkish and NATO mission and media support groups and journalists from across the industry attended the event at Government Media and Information Center(GIMIC) in Kabul.

The journalists and media organization across Afghanistan were invited to nominate one story per person in the competition. The competition attracted dozens of entries from all around the country. The jury was impressed with the depth of experience contained in the state-winning entries.

Among 70 applicants participated in this competition, a total of 11 competitors from television, radio, print and online media have been recognized as outstanding journalists for their hard work in producing compelling stories in 2019 and Naweed Ahmad Barakzai received the highest score by the jury for his report on misuse of the High Peace Council budget.

The story reveals that peace body has spent a huge amount of money since its inception without achieving substantial results in terms of peace, as the war has become even deadlier.

According to the report, the High Peace Council (HPC) monthly expenses, including food for 72 people, employees’ salaries, fuel and other expenses amount to 26 million afghanis.

The 72-member council was set up back in 2011 by the then president Hamid Karzai in an attempt to make peace and reconciliation with the Taliban.

However, the massive spending by HPC continues. More than 300 million afghanis are spent annually on facilities for the peace council, whose performance continues to be far from satisfactory.

Highlighting the significant role that journalists play in the war torn Afghanistan, especially in the post-Taliban era, director of Afghanistan Journalists Center Mr. Ahmad Quraishi said, “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 at risk while covering events and reporting on matters that can affect people’s lives”.

By the initiative of AFJC, Hoot 27th (March 18) was named as the National Journalist’s Day and was celebrated in Kabul and other cities of Afghanistan to acknowledge the significant role of journalists in strengthening of the free press and flow of fair, impartial and balanced information to the people that stands as an important pillar in a democratic society.

Since launching the award in 2014, two reporters from the BBC Afghanistan including a female, two reporters from the country leading newspaper, Hasth-e-Subh and a female reporter from Ariana Television Network have won the prestigious award.

Afghanistan Journalist of the Year award competition is open to all Afghan journalists who work inside Afghanistan with any national or international media organizations. The 2019 event was sponsored by the Afghanistan Islamic Bank.

The calls for entry will be made in February every year at the Afghanistan Journalist Centre website.