Italy’s Ischia Prize Foundation announced on Friday that it will confer a posthumous honour upon Pakistani reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad. The decision to award Shahzad was a unanimous one and was backed by all members of the jury. The annual prize honours excellence in journalism and communication.
Shahzad, Pakistan correspondent for Adnkronos International, Asia Times Online and La Stampa, was abducted in Islamabad and tortured to death by unidentified men on May 29. He was found dead two days later, some 150 kilometres southwest of Islamabad.
In their citations, members of the Ischia prize jury described Shahzad as “inquiring and enthusiastic” journalist who “did in-depth reporting in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where he interviewed various jihadist commanders, as well as in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, Iran, Syria and the United Arab Emirates.”
“An expert in international terrorism, Shahzad with his illuminating analyses of international terrorism, and the social and cultural reality so different from our own, he embodied a passionate and courageous model for journalism which viewed the profession as the supreme mission for peace and culture,” said the Ischia Prize Foundation.
“Through his articles published by AKI, and his in-depth reports and stories for the various dailies he worked for, Shahzad managed to bring to an Italian audience the complex reality of that region of the world of which he was an acute and intrepid observer. He paid with his life for his desire to tell the truth at all costs.”
Shahzad is survived by his wife and three children aged 7, 10 and 13. His wife Anita will collect the award.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2011.
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