Mosul team, 2017 winner
Alhurra-Iraq’s correspondent Abdul Hamid Zebari and cameramen Yaser Salim and Johan Saeed have distinguished themselves by taking extreme risks to accurately and objectively report on present-day Iraq’s deepening catastrophe resulting from ISIS’s inhumane actions.
Since the early days of the 2016 campaign to end ISIS’s brutal rule in Mosul, the three journalists followed developments close to the front lines. They brought to viewers intimate portraits of families fleeing, struggling to survive in the midst of war, suffering from injuries at hospitals and living in camps for internally displaced persons.
Despite security challenges, they have consistently excelled in their daily reports by presenting a balanced picture of events. Through their understanding of the subject matter and their ability to convey their depth of knowledge, they have conveyed a vivid picture of the high stakes conflict. Interviews with military generals and citizens from all walks of life have shown viewers the broad-based determination to fight terrorism.
Most recently, the three journalists came under fire when they were embedded with Iraqi counterterrorism forces outside of Mosul. Both correspondent Abdul Hamid Zebari and cameraman Yaser Salim were hit by shrapnel and cameraman Johan Saeed rushed them to an emergency medical facility. Even following this ordeal, they remained committed to their journalistic mission by continuing to report on Mosul.
The three honorees are motivated by the closely held belief that the job of equipping the Iraqi populace and people throughout the Middle East with accurate information about the important issues of our times is necessary to improve society and worth the risks involved. Their resilience and bravery demonstrate the best ideals of their profession and make them worthy recipients of the 2017 David Burke Distinguished Journalist Award.