Dawa Khan Meenapal, 2010 winner
Dawa Khan Meenapal was Radio Free Afghanistan’s correspondent in Kandahar, one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Meenapal, showed tremendous bravery working under constant pressure both from the militants and government security forces, and his objective reporting earned him respect from across the political spectrum.
In November 2008, Meenapal was kidnapped on the Kabul-Kandahar highway. Three days later he was released after tribal leaders in the area, who considered him to be a balanced and objective reporter, protested his detention and persuaded the Taliban to release him. In August 2009, Meenapal was severely beaten by Afghan police while covering the then largest-ever explosion in Kandahar, which killed over 100 civilians. Despite paying such a huge price for doing his job, Meenapal continued his excellent work and was one of the Afghan Service’s most productive reporters.