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May 21st, 2008

Dahr Jamail and Mohammed OmerIPS is delighted to announce that Mohammed Omer (Gaza) and Dahr Jamail (Iraq) have won the influential Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism.

Mohammed reports for IPS on the plight of surviving in Gaza. Much of his work arises from the personal experience of living in an extremely traumatic situation. Since 2004, Dahr has seen much of what has happened in Iraq after the invasion. Together with local writers, he has been able to bring out the street voice and the experiences of people beyond anything official or only political.

In letters to IPS, Dahr and Mohammed said:

“And congrats to IPS… I owe a debt of gratitude for you having found me and run my stories since early 2004. I couldn’t have done it without you… I absolutely could not have done my job without the support from IPS I have received over these last years. This is an award for all of us.”

“Like Dahr, I also owe a debt of gratitude for you encouraging and running stories from Gaza. I want to take this chance and express my admiration and thanks to Sanjay, who’s the best editor[I] ever had.

The Prize for Journalism is based on the principles of reporting that distinguished Martha Gellhorn: in her own words “the view from the ground”. Essentially a human story that penetrates the established version of events and illuminates an urgent issue buried by prevailing fashions of what makes news. We would expect the winner to tell an unpalatable truth, validated by powerful facts, that exposes establishment conduct and its propaganda, or “official drivel”, as Martha called it. The prize is awarded annually to journalists writing in English whose work has appeared in print or in a reputable internet publication.

Dahr’s work for IPS was also celebrated by Project Censored, which publishes the renowned “Most Censored” News Stories of the year.

Dahr’s “Iraq: Not Our Country to Return to” and IPS Raul Gutierrez’s “El Salvador: Spectre of War Looms After 15 Years of Peace” were selected among the top twenty-five most important under-covered stories of the year.

The stories will be gathered in a report, which will include their background and impact in order to “keep the story alive”, as the organisers put it. The Project Censored stories go on to receive national attention from the mainstream and alternative/independent press in the U.S. and abroad.

Previous prestigious winners of the Martha Gellhorn Prize

2006: Hala Jaber (The Sunday Times) and Michael Tierney (The Glasgow Herald)
2005: Ghaith Abdul Ahad (The Guardian)
2004: Patrick Cockburn (The Independent)
2003: Chris McGreal (The Guardian)
2002: Robert Fisk (The Independent)

Others Talk about the Award

Reporters Share Gellhorn Prize

Recent stories by Dahr, Mohammed and Raul:

IRAQ:Praying, not Playing By Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail

IRAQ:Nature Adds to Occupation Blows By Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail

IRAQ:Food Crisis Hits Fallujah By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail

MIDEAST:Siege Hits Palestinians Before They Are Born By Mohammed Omer

MIDEAST:Too Quiet in the Harbour By Mohammed Omer

MIDEAST:Israel Strengthens Hamas Leadership By Mohammed Omer

EL SALVADOR:Gangs Are ‘Perfect Scapegoats’, Say Experts By Raul Gutierrez

RIGHTS:Reuniting El Salvador’s Missing Children with Their Families By Raul Gutierrez

LATIN AMERICA:’Christians Should Take Poverty and Justice Seriously’

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