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IWPR  in Tajikistan Awarded Best Journalists Covering Radicalism, Human Rights and Religious Liberties

The IWPR representative office in Tajikistan selected best journalistic materials covering the struggle against radicalism in Tajikistan in 2017.


For one year, 36 journalists trained at IWPR trainings have been covering one of the topical issues in the present-day world, the growth of radicalism and its consequences for Tajikistan. Over 100 journalistic materials were submitted to the competition announced at the start of the year.

The award panel consisting of professional journalists, experts, human rights defenders and multimedia specialists selected winners based on highest criteria the best works should have complied with. Among them were such criteria as journalistic courage, compliance with IWPR’s quality standards, the balance of opinions, the use of multimedia tools to cover the topic, and the effectiveness of materials.

The solemn award ceremony was held in Dushanbe on December 15. The event was attended by journalists and experts, IWPR partners, representatives of the US Embassy and British Embassy to Tajikistan.

In his welcome speech, Abakhon Sultonnazarov, the Regional IWPR Director for Central Asia, has noted that after IWPR had held trainings for journalists from almost all regions of the country, the media outlets now have more analytical articles and reports on the problems of the growth of radicalism in Tajikistan. The topics covered were diverse: the problems of the growth of radicalism in the country and their reasons, the fate of young people who have left to fight for Syria and Iraq and of their elderly parents, wives and children abandoned by them, the stigma and discrimination against such families, violations of civil rights, and other topical issues.

“This topic has turned out to be so popular and interesting that instead of planned 108 articles in the project we have received over 250 articles for less than a year,” Abakhon Sultonnazarov said. “Of course, this wave of journalistic articles and reports has not gone unnoticed. Today we can definitely say that if few people have given up on their idea to join terrorist organizations and leave to fight for Syria because of your reports, dear journalists, then we did our job together! Therefore, on behalf of the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR), I want to thank all Tajik journalists who contribute to the struggle against the global terrorism, radicalism and extremism on a daily basis.”

John Cooney, a head of the Political/Economic Section of the US Embassy to Tajikistan, has noted that the American embassy has always supported and will be supporting the media in Tajikistan. “Every country has strong media. We know that you are doing very useful and fruitful job. It’s a great honor for me to award the best journalists today, who are covering the problem of radicalism in Tajikistan,” John Cooney said.

The representative of the US Embassy has emphasized the good job by the IWPR team in Tajikistan, saying that IWPR does a good job on raising public awareness to fight radicalism. “We are helping this organization to implement this project in the country and will keep on working in the future,” he emphasized.

IWPR awarded the best journalists covering the problems of the fight against radicalism in Tajikistan in 2017:

I place — Saodat Ismoili and Masumi Muhammadrachab, journalists from Sughd region – for their joint material “Return from ISIS. An escape of Alisher with his wife and child from Syria”.

II place — Sairakhmon Nazriyev and Zokiri Khasan, journalists from Khatlon region — for the investigative report “Risk of social media on the Internet. What are tentative solutions?”

III place — Farzonai Umarali — for article “The growth and defeat of ISIS”.

All winners were awarded prize money.

Moreover, IWPR has established two special nominations: “For the best coverage of the problems of radicalism” and “High professionalism”, which were awarded to journalists Orzui Karim and Negmatullo Mirsaidov, respectively.

The prizes were awarded to two young journalists, participants of trainings held by the multimedia journalism school “Dast ba dast” supported by IWPR under the project. The prizes – modern smartphones – were awarded to Abdullo Gurbati and Dilnoza Kudussova for their active and fruitful participation in the training.

Nargis Kasymova, the head of “Dast ba dast”, noted that the trainings have taught young people to the fundamentals of journalism and how to use multimedia tools in their work. “It was also a leadership school for young people aged 12 to 25,” she said.

Nargis Kasymova (left), head of “Dast ba dast”, partner of IWPR, and Shakhodat Saibnazarova, IWPR editor.

The competition was held under the IWPR’s Building Society’s Capacity To Fight Radicalism in Tajikistan project.