Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Afghanistan: Feb ‘08

IWPR reporters receive plaudits for their work, which draws ever-growing interest from local and international media organisations.

Several IWPR reporters in February received recognition for the stories they have produced, helping us to gauge the impact we are making both within Afghanistan and abroad.

IWPR reporter Sayed Yaqub Ibrahimi was awarded the title “Journalist of the Year,” by the Italian Journalists’ Association, along with his brother, jailed journalism student Sayed Parwez Kambakhsh.

Yaqub’s fearless reporting about the rise of warlordism in Afghanistan’s north has earned him both national and international renown. It may also have contributed to his brother’s difficulties, since Yaqub’s tireless exposés have annoyed many powerful figures.

As a result of the Kambakhsh case, dozens of journalists contacted IWPR, asking for information and interviews. Programme Director Jean MacKenzie contributed op-ed pieces to several publications, and was interviewed by many radio stations in the West. Yaqub was even more in demand - his commentary on the situation was eagerly sought and broadcast.

Within the past two weeks, Yaqub has received information that his brother’s case will soon be transferred from Balkh to Kabul, increasing hopes for a fair trial. This has been one of the most gratifying impacts of IWPR’s activities for quite a long while.

Two other IWPR reporters, Mohammad Ilyas Dayee and Aziz Ahmad Tassal, were chosen for a conflict-reporting project sponsored by Internews.

Two out of only nine journalists picked from Afghanistan, Tassal and Dayee had distinguished themselves by their courageous reporting from Helmand.

The pair will travel to London, for a two-week seminar in conflict reporting, after which they will produce stories on the situation in their home province. At the end of May, they will go to Bosnia and Kosovo, to witness the techniques and impact of conflict reporting.

Over the past few months, IWPR has become a major source for information for the local and international media. IWPR’s groundbreaking project in Helmand has thrust it centre stage, as the troubled southern province becomes more and more a focus of international attention.

Scores of media organisations have contacted IWPR for contacts in Helmand, for advice on reporting in the south, for analyses of the political situation there, and for the latest news on the anti-poppy campaign. The strength of IWPR’s reporting in the south has earned it credibility and respect around the globe.

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