Announcement of Excellence Awards for 2017

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Lab Azad – Recognising Excellence in Journalism

About the Award: Laz Azad is an independent award given every year to print and broadcast journalists who exhibit distinction in reporting on social issues. Every year specific issues are selected under which key nominations are invited from journalists nationwide. An independent jury of senior most journalists comprising highly respected names evaluate shortlisted stories against an established criteria for finalising winners. The Award aims to recognise, promote and institutionalise the values of accountability, originality, independence, neutrality and above all issue specialised journalism in Pakistan.

History of the Awards: In 2016, Center for Communication Programs Pakistan and Centre for Excellence in Journalism at the IBA, joined hands for launching the Excellence Awards in Journalism with the aim of recognising and promoting specialised journalism that focuses on issues of concerning people of Pakistan, particularly the marginalised and downtrodden sections of the Country. In its inaugural year, the theme of the award was health journalism, under which nearly 200 entries were received from all over Pakistan that competed in four distinct categories.

Excellence Award 2017: This year too, the overall theme of the Award remains rights-based reporting with focus on three key areas, namely:

1. Population Growth and Realisation of Human Rights:
2. Health Rights, with focus on access to services
3. Women Rights, with focus on reproductive health and family planning

About Rights-based Reporting:

The rights-based approach to journalism is a specialised form of reporting that focuses on issues concerning basic human rights of citizens. The rights-based approach explores each story from the perspective of both duty bearers, people who are supposed to provide that right and right holders, people who possess that right at multiple levels of the society from household, family, community, town, city, province and national level. The rights-based approach to journalism enables each story to explore the issue and solutions at these multiple levels for citizens and policymakers alike. This year the Award will be focusing on three rights, namely:

Population Growth and Realisation of Human Rights: Pakistan's population as per the official census figures has crossed 200 million. With the existing growth rate Pakistan is likely to become the world's 5th most populous country by 2030 with an estimated population of 275 million. This population growth cannot continue unabated in a country where the existing population is already suffering in access to their basic human rights. Access to justice, education, health, clean drinking water, all have a population and resource dimension to them. Rising poverty levels and rising population can only make access to rights more and more difficult. Stories that can present micro pictures of this challenge and link it to the macro picture will be considered this year for one of the award.

Health Rights, with focus on access to service: Health is a fundamental right of every human. Right to health is not only about provision of hospitals and medical facilities by the State but above all an enabling environment that prevents diseases and promotes a healthy lifestyle amongst all its citizens. Stories that explore the multidimensional nature of health at various levels of the society from both rights holders and duty bearers perspective will be given weightage for the Award. Special emphasis will be given to stories that focus on issues concerning 'access' from the perspectives of empowerment, demand, availability, and provision of health services.

Women Rights, with focus on reproductive health and family planning: While women have many rights, the reproductive and family planning if one of the most crucial of them all. In Pakistan, Maternal Mortality is still very high, second only to Afghanistan in the region. Pakistan did not achieve the Millennium Development Goal. In pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals, there is a major leap that the country has to take for meeting its targets and reduce maternal and infant mortality. One single reason that can play a crucial role in recognizing the special needs of a woman during pregnancy which is her basic right as well as spacing between two births., an issue that comes under the ambit of family planning. Knowing that Pakistan is a patriarchal society, special weightage will be given to stories in which women have played a heroic role as rights holders in achieving their reproductive rights and the decision to space between their children

Who can Apply: All journalists who have their stories published in any leading newspaper, TV, Radio or magazine between 01 July 2016 and 30th June 2017 can send their entries through the nomination form. The address and contact number have been mentioned below.

It is worth mentioning that there are four awards under each category; namely

Mainstream Broadcast (TV & Radio)
Mainstream Print/Online - English;
Mainstream Print/Online - Urdu
District Correspondents (Print/Online/TV/Radio)

Award Ceremony: The ceremony will be held in the last week of December in CEJ-IBA Karachi. You will be informed about the awards ceremony if you get shortlisted. All travel arrangements for the shortlisted candidates shall be borne by CEJ.

When to Apply: The last date for submissions is November 20, 2017.

How to Apply: Please fill out the form present on CEJ website (cej.iba.edu.pk) for nominations/submissions. In case you are unable to submit your story through a link, you can create a folder on google drive and save scanned images. You can share that folder's link in the application form.
In exceptional circumstances, hard copies along with your CV can be couriered to the CEJ at:

Centre for Excellence in Journalism
Institute of Business Administration
Garden/Kiyani Shaheed Road, Karachi- 74400
Tel: +92 21 38104701 Ext. 1701-05
Email: cej@iba.edu.pk

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