The News staffer wins inaugural Kate Webb award
HONG KONG: The News staffer Mushtaq Yusufzai, who has been wounded by the Taliban and arrested by security forces in the line of duty, was presented the inaugural Kate Webb Award by the Agence France-Presse (AFP) at the Foreign Correspondents Club here on Wednesday evening.
Yusufzai, who reports out of the restive tribal belt along the Afghan border that is a haven for Al-Qaeda loyalists, won the prize for his in-depth reports, analyses and blogs from the complex and dangerous region.
Yusufzai started out in journalism as a health writer on The News for which he still works. He also blogs and reports for the US network NBC from his base in Peshawar. “It is very difficult now to work independently in the tribal areas. We have lost several journalists in killings,” he said when accepting the award. “(However) we need stories,” Yusufzai said. “We need news,” he added.
The judges singled out two of his stories in particular one about the Taliban’s ban on barbers and another on a female teacher who defied orders to wear a burqa. He said he would use the 5,000 euro (8,000 dollar) award to travel to Britain and the US to investigate reports that radical Islamic groups in the West were sending converts to the tribal zones.
AFP Asia-Pacific Director Eric Wishart, who headed the panel of judges, praised Yusufzai’s work and his bravery. “This is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists,” he said in presenting the award. “If it was not for people like Mushtaq, we would not know what is happening,” he added.
Veteran war correspondent Peter Arnett also paid tribute to Yusufzai’s determination to continue reporting in an area that had almost become off-limits to foreign reporters. The award is administered by the AFP Foundation, a non-profit organisation created to promote higher standards of journalism worldwide, and the work from the winner’s reporting assignment will be displayed on its website.
Source: The News