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Kurdish journalist wins Gebran Tueni Award.

Summary: Editor-in-chief of "Awene" guides a paper with an important role in the Diaspora

"?in Kurdistan?we have covered an important-albeit brief-part of the road toward the consolidation of press freedom in our society."-Asos Hardi Asos Hardi, editor-in-chief and founder of "Awene," (Mirror) a newspaper in Iraqi Kurdistan, was awarded the 2009 Gebran Tueni Award, the annual prize of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) that honors an editor or publisher from the Arab region.Mr. Hardi, who has gained a reputation as a newspaperman with exceptional leadership skills and high professional standards in a country where the media face great difficulties, received the award in a ceremony in Beirut on Sunday, December 12, the anniversary of the murder of Gebran Tueni, the Lebanese publisher who was killed by a car bomb in December 2005.The award honors the editor or publisher who demonstrates the values incarnated in Mr. Tueni: attachment to freedom of the press, courage, leadership, ambition, and high managerial and professional standards."This is not only a tribute to me, but also a tribute to free press, in Kurdistan and Iraq in general," said Mr. Hardi."This does not mean, of course, that we have come to the end of the course and that the road ahead is paved with flowers," he said. "Iraq, and Kurdistan as a part of it, is still in transition, and we have a lot of hard work to do. There are still fears of a return backwards. But in Kurdistan, at least, we have covered an important--albeit brief--part of the road toward the consolidation of press freedom in our society."Under Mr. Hardi's leadership, "Awene" has established itself as one of the truly independent newspapers in Kurdistan Region today. The paper reports a circulation of 17,000, employs 40 people, and plays an important role for the Kurdish Diaspora, providing Kurds abroad with the latest news from their home country.Mr. Hardi was born 1963 in Suleimaniya city; he graduated from the College of Engineering, Department of Mechanics; in 1987 he became Peshmerga (Kurdish guerrilla) and went to the mountains. After the great 1991 Kurdish Uprising against the Iraqi government of Saddam, he returned to the city.He has written hundreds of articles in different newspapers in Kurdistan Region and has translated three books. The award includes a 10,000-Euro scholarship to enable Mr. Hardi to undertake advanced newspaper leadership training.Many well-known personalities, nongovernmental organizations, and journalists in Kurdistan have congratulated Mr. Hardi. "Receiving the Gebran Tueni Award shows the journalism situation in Kurdistan is improving," said Farhad Awni, head of the Kurdistan Journalist Syndicate.Newspapers in Iraqi Kurdistan face the same obstacles as most media in developing countries: limited advertising market, poor distribution networks, and a general lack of infrastructure.

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Publication:The Kurdish Globe (Erbil, Iraq)
Date:Dec 19, 2009
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