Washington, D.C. — Alhurra Digital’s Video Content Lead Ahmed Elimam and El Saha’s Video Content Lead Ahmed Harbia received the 2021 David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award for their innovative and compelling videos that provided audiences with trustworthy news and information.
“There is a scarcity of Arabic online content which creates an information void. Many Arabic online searches yield no, or very limited and inaccurate results,” stated MBN Acting President Hassan Shwiki. MBN manages and oversees Alhurra.com and ElSaha.com. “These two dedicated and talented journalists transformed MBN’s digital video content by creating compelling mini-films that explain issues and shed light on topics not found in the Arabic digital space.”
In the early months of 2020, there was confusion and misinformation about COVID. Ahmed Elimam and the Alhurra.com team quickly grasped the need for a series of videos that clearly explained the latest recommendations from doctors and scientists on how to protect yourself from catching COVID. This series detailed basic information about COVID and why it is important to wear masks. It also illustrated some of the names and terms that became part of the pandemic vernacular, including ventilators and describing the World Health Organization and its role. Ahmed aggressively kept watch for misinformation in the Arabic press and would counter it with factual details, including why COVID will not disappear in the summer.
When the U.S. presidential elections started heating up, Ahmed and the Alhurra.com team created a series of videos that detailed various aspects of the American elections that are not well known in the Arab world. His explanatory reporting included insights from political experts and constitutional scholars to provide additional context and analysis to the daily updates from the campaign trail. His videos helped audiences understand elements unique to the American democratic system, explaining the electoral process, “October Surprise,” and the requirements to run for president. Ahmed creatively provided a historical look at both the Democratic and Republican candidates. The videos produced by Ahmed and his team were grounded in the basics of journalism and easy to understand.
ElSaha.com and its social media properties serve as a video-centric reliable source of news for Egyptians. As Video Content Lead, Ahmed Harbia directs the production of videos covering humanitarian stories, highlighting the needs of the communities El Saha serves. A dedicated journalist, Ahmed is always in search of stories that need to be told. In 2020, a 15-year-old girl was accused of manslaughter after she stabbed her abductor and rapist. As local coverage dehumanized her, Ahmed and his team sought out Amira, who spoke out about what it was like being kidnapped and assaulted, only to survive and then be harshly judged by society. In a similar story, El Saha interviewed Nael, a Sudanese teenager living in Cairo. Nael was victim of a racist attack that was filmed and widely viewed on social media. Talking to El Saha, Nael expressed his feelings of rejection, alienation, and fear. However, Nael also shared his compassion for his attackers, worried that the sentence they received was too harsh and his concern for their future.
Ahmed also seeks out stories that focus on marginalized groups in Egypt, including women. He reports on women overcoming stereotypes to inspire and empower others, including three Egyptian sisters who successfully took over their father’s marble factory when he passed away. Another report highlighted Donia, a woman who always loved working on cars, so she went to school and now is a teacher of auto mechanics.
The U.S. Agency for Global Media presents the David Burke Distinguished Journalism Awards annually to recognize courage, integrity and professionalism of journalists working for each of the five USAGM networks.
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Contact Deirdre Kline
Director of Communications, Alhurra Television, Radio Sawa