2002 M.T. Mehdi
Al-Jazeera awarded 2002 MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award
NBC Journalist Jim Avila Named recipient of NAAJA Lifetime Achievement Award
18 Arab Journalists and Publications win Excellence in Journalism Awards
Chicago -- The National Arab Journalists Association presented 20 journalism awards at its Convention Dinner on Saturday, March 9, including to the Palestinian journalists who work under Israeli occupation.
Citations include the coveted MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award which is being presented to Al-Jazeera satellite television, a Lifetime Achievement Award to Arab American NBC-TV correspondent Jim Avila, and 18 Excellence in Journalism Awards to recipients ranging from newspaper publishers, online web-masters, poets, writers and journalists. Lorraine Ali, a Newsweek Magazine editor, will receive a NAJA Excellence in Journalism Award.
The awards, intended to highlight the vast array of writing and journalism talent in the Arab and Muslim community, will be presented at the National Conference of Arab & Muslim Journalists, to be held March 8 - 10, 2002 at the Radisson O'Hare Hotel in Chicago.
One of the awards will go to the Palestinian journalists and media in the Occupied West Bank, Occupied Gaza Strip and Occupied Jerusalem.
"Only one nation, Palestine, remains under a military occupation today and the Palestinian journalists who cover this occupation under the harshest of conditions deserve to be recognized for their insistence on recording accurately the events of this brutal occupation," said Conference Chairman NAJA executive director Ray Hanania.
"Despite the hardships of working in a war zone. Despite the threats to their lives by fanatic Israeli settlers and the aggressive Israeli military. Despite impediments imposed on their movement by the occupation government. Despite all of these roadblocks, the Palestinian journalists continue to provide the most accurate and complete coverage of this only occupation that remains in the world today."
Hanania said the award is presented to the Palestinian journalists as a group and the Palestinian media as a whole, to include the many Palestinian newspapers and media outlets including Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam, and Baladi newspapers.
"These are only a few that struggle to exist and refuse to be silenced by Israel's massive military, propaganda arm of oppression," Hanania said.
The Mehdi award, named in honor of the late Arab American journalism pioneer Dr. M.T. Mehdi, is being presented to Al-Jazeera for sending shockwaves through the American-dominated news media.
"Al-Jazeera has singled-handedly forced the often biased and unobjective American media to second-guess its own reporting. Al-Jazeera has broadcast reports that the American media has preferred to ignore but cannot. Al-Jazeera has remained professional and has remained dedicated to the principles of professional journalism which demand that information be presented to the public truthfully, fully and accurately," Hanania said.
Avila, who is half Arab and half Hispanic, has been a professional journalist for nearly three decades covering Chicago politics and now the international stage. His most recent reports included coverage of the American war in Afghanistan and the recent Enron scandal.
"Avila's reporting has been first rate and on target," Hanania said. "While he is not assigned to the Middle East, as an Arab American, his track record of award winning, professional journalism remains a role model to others who seek journalistic professionalism," Hanania said.
Other journalists and media publications also receiving awards at the March 9 dinner include:
Roxane Assaf for her informative reporting for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs magazine.
Chicago Radio talk show hosts Yusef Shebli, Nadeem al-Khuffash and Yusef Marei. Their radio stations serve as the only broadcast forum for Arab American news in the Midwest, filling a gap left by biased, one-sided American news media reporting.
Palestine Media Watch & Ahmed Bouzid web-master. This web site provides a valuable service to help augment the voices of the Arab and Muslim American community using the Internet.
Palestine Chronicle and web-master Ramzy Baroud. Baroud's innovative media ventures online, in print and his columns, have helped to keep the public focused on the truth of the Middle East conflict.
The News Circle Magazine and Joseph Haiek publisher. Joe Haiek is an icon in the Arab American and Lebanese American journalists community. He is an activist who has organized journalists on the West Coast and publishes the very informative News Circle Almanac.
Al-Offok al-Arabi Newspaper and Kawthar Othman. Ms. Othman's broadsheet newspaper is the only real professional Arabic language newspaper in Chicago.
The Voice of Jordan Newspaper and The Hon. Ihsan Sweis, publisher. This Jordanian focused newspaper has been a fixture in Chicago for nearly a decade, providing firstclass news and information in English and on a steady, regular basis.
Sammer Ghouleh, poetry and writing. Her poems have received international awards and citations. She remains active in the Spina Bifida Association where her views and writings have moved many people to compassion. Muslims Newspaper and Jawed Anwar publisher. Anwar's broadsheet newspaper is one of the most professional designed and published English language newspapers that focuses on Muslim related news from around the country. It is first class.
Islamic Horizons Magazine and Omer Bin Abdullah, Editor. This is a singular resource on Muslim American information.
Arab American Business Magazine and Nidal Ibrahim. Publisher Ibrahim's magazine has become must-read in the Arab and Muslim American business community, providing coverage of a segment of our society that is often unreported.
The Arab Voice Newspaper and Walid Rabah Publisher. This Arabic language newspaper is a compass for the Arab and Muslims of the greater New York area, keeping the nation abreast of the events in this important region.
Al Manassa al-Arabiye and Mohrez elHussini. Mr. elHussini's newspaper is must read in the New York and New Jersey region, providing the most comprehensive picture of Arab and Muslim American activism and news
Minaret Magazine and Dr. Aslam Abdullah. This is a first class magazine that continues to break new ground with informative and well written articles that inform and help to correct the false images often portrayed of Muslims in America.