IFJ Journalism for Tolerance Prize : Announcement of winner for South Asia

The winner of the inaugural IFJ Journalism for Tolerance Prize in South Asia was announced at a special prize giving ceremony and media forum held in New Delhi today. The IFJ Journalism for Tolerance Prize, supported by the European Commission, is about promoting tolerance, combating racism and discrimination and contributing to an understanding of cultural, religious and ethnic differences. The Prize carries a cash award of Euro 1500 (Rs 75,000).

The winner of the Prize for South Asia is: Muzamil Jaleel (India) Srinagar Bureau Chief of The Indian Express, for his entry “Setting out in Search of Kashmiriyat” which appeared in Indian Express, March 24 2002.

Comments of the jury: “In ‘Setting Out in Search of Kashmiriyat’, Mr.Jaleel has attempted a sensitive and sophisticated portrayal of the basic traditional values of humanism and synthesis in Kashmir society which knit together its overwhelming Muslim majority and minuscule Hindu minority in a bond of mutual love. In this story, the author takes the reader through a tour of Kashmir's shrines to which have thronged ordinary folk of both communities for centuries, but which today languish from neglect imposed by suspicions and fear. The reporter's journey is undertaken in the company of one of Kashmir's finest Sufi poets and scholars whose family was all but wiped out in a grenade attack. And yet it is not bitterness which marks his feelings but a sense of hope and bonding across the religious divide. In this respect the poet and the reporter are one.”

The winner was chosen from 80 entries submitted to the Prize in South Asia and were judged by a Jury comprised of eminent journalists from around the region: Rosanne Therese Koelmeyer Anderson (Sri Lanka): Associate Editor, the Sunday Observer, Ajit Bhattacharjea (India): Director of the Press Institute of India, New Delhi, N.Ram (India): Editor of Frontline, previously editor of The Hindu, Rama Krishna Regmee (Nepal): Head, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, Kantipur City College, IA Rehman (Pakistan): Director, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Anand K. Sahay (India): Senior Leader Writer and columnist at the Hindustan Times and Ajith Samaranayake (Sri Lanka): Editor-in-Chief of Lake House English publications.

The South Asia Press Freedom Report was released on the occasion by Justice JS Verma, Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India and Former Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission.

The public debate on “Tolerance and Press Freedom: Are They Peacetime Luxuries?” was moderated by N Ram, Editor, Frontline, and speakers included Prabhash Joshi, Former Editor, Jansatta, Kuldip Nayar, veteran journalist and MP and. Tarun Vijay, Editor, Panchjanya.

For further information contact:

Laxmi Murthy, Tolerance Prize Co-ordinator (South Asia)

Tel: 9818383669 E.mail: ifjsouthasia@hotmail.com

With the support of the European Commission