Two-Time Academy Award Winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy has won the prestigious Knight International Journalism Award 2017 for her reporting across the world for the past two decades. Announced by the International Center for Journalists [ICFJ] in Washington, D.C. on 31st May 2017, the award recognizes her outstanding efforts to chronicle the human toll of extremism that have made a major impact.
“At great personal risk, Obaid-Chinoy and al-Masri faced terrorism head on, getting behind the scenes to chronicle untold abuses,” said ICFJ President, Joyce Barnathan.
“These reporters exemplify journalism excellence, telling stories that advance change and revealing truths that would not be uncovered, but for their efforts,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation Vice President for Journalism who also announced the winners of the Knight International Journalism Award 2017.
“It is a great honour for me to be awarded the Knight International Journalism Award. I began writing for newspapers in Pakistan when I was 14 years old and produced my first documentary film at the age of 21. Throughout my career I have strived to investigate stories that make people deeply uncomfortable, in the hope that they will spark conversations that will eventually lead to changes in attitudes.” said Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy on winning the Knight International Journalism Award.
The Knight International Journalism Award by the ICFJ recognizes media professionals who demonstrate a passionate commitment to excellent reporting that makes a difference in the lives of people around the world. Past recipients include pioneering correspondents who have exposed government corruption, war crimes and other important stories. For 2017, the recipients are Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, whose work and efforts in highlighting the loophole on the practice of honour killing in Pakistan led to a legislative change in Pakistan, and Karam al-Masri, a Syrian photojournalist and videographer who persisted in covering the siege of Aleppo through a near-blackout of news from the city. The award is supported by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funds ICFJ’s Knight International Journalism Fellowships. The fellowships promote a global culture of news innovation.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s documentaries, which have won two Oscars, tackle abuse of women and children. Her “Frontline” documentary, “Children of the Taliban,” told of Pakistani boys who were groomed in Taliban schools to carry out attacks against civilians. “Saving Face” focused on acid attacks on women. The film prompted Pakistan’s most populous province to process these cases through anti-terrorism courts to ensure speedier justice. “A Girl in the River” is based on the practice of honor killing in Pakistan. The documentary chronicles one young Pakistani woman who lived to tell of her escape from an attempted honor killing by her own family. The film drew attention to a loophole which allowed these murders to go unpunished. Pakistan’s Parliament then passed a law criminalizing honor killings.
Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy also helped found the Citizens Archive of Pakistan, a nonprofit, organization that fosters and promotes community-wide interest in the culture and history of Pakistan. Earlier this year, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy was invested as the new Honorary Consul General of the Kingdom of Norway in Karachi and won the Best International Television Award at prestigious 49th Annual Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards in May 2017 for her Academy Award Winning documentary “A Girl in the River”. She also represented Pakistan at the eighth annual Women in the World Summit in April 2017, launched a new campaign “AAGAHI – Apnay Mustaqbil Ki” [#AAGAHI #ApnayMustaqbilKi] in collaboration with the Women’s Action Forum in Karachi on the International’s Women’s Day in March 2017 and was the first artist ever to Co-Chair to prestigious 47th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Switzerland in January 2017.
The winners will be honoured on November 9 2017 at ICFJ’s Awards Dinner in Washington, DC which will hosted by CNN Political Anchor, Wolf Blitzer.