Alhurra-Iraq’s Correspondent Ahmad Arram was given the “Courage in Journalism” Award by the Journalistic Freedoms Observatory in Iraq for his reporting on alleged fraudulent land deals being facilitated by the Iraqi government.
Mr. Arram’s report, which aired on Oct. 12, 2009, focused on approximately 600,000 acres in downtown Baghdad that had been allocated by the Baghdad Council for public space such as a city park. Instead, the prime real estate appears to have been given to the heads of ministries and their top employees to build personal homes. Alhurra’s in-depth story included documentation about these real estate transactions that had never previously been made public. Alhurra then aired follow-up reports that included reaction from the Iraqi government and outrage from Baghdad citizens.
This “Courage in Journalism” award follows the recognition of Alhurra by the Al Mada Institute for Media, Culture and the Arts for excellence in the media earlier this year. Alhurra’s correspondents were singled out at the best male and female correspondents in Iraq; and Alhurra’s political and cultural programming in Iraq was also recognized.
The Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO) was established in 2005. Working in cooperation with Reporters without Borders and other international organizations, the JFO defends the rights of Iraqi journalists and reports on free speech violations in Iraq. JFO is also helping to modernize journalism in Iraq: It supports legislation that protects journalists and freedom of press, organized public events rallying support for a free press and prints posters and other materials informing the public about journalists’ rights.
According to international research firms such as ACNielsen, Alhurra has a weekly reach of 27.7 million, including 9.6 million of adults in Iraq who tune into Alhurra each week. Alhurra is broadcast on the Nilesat and Arabsat satellites in the Middle East and the Hotbird satellite system in Europe. Alhurra is operated by the non-profit corporation “The Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.” (MBN). MBN is financed by the U.S. Government through a grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), an independent federal agency. The BBG serves oversight and as a firewall to protect the professional independence and integrity of the broadcasters. For more information on Alhurra go to www.alhurra.com
Director of Communications
Middle East Broadcasting Networks, Inc.