LONDON: Freelance Pakistani reporter Shah Meer Baloch has won the Kurt Schork Freelance Award for his work documenting slave mining, child labour, the Kalahsas and systematic negligence in the national polio vaccination programme.
Thomson Reuters Foundation announced three winners honouring brave, yet often unrecognised journalists for their reporting on conflict, corruption and injustice. The prize for the award is $5,000.
The judges highlighted how "the high degree of personal risk involved in tackling such stories in Pakistan cannot be understated". They said Baloch has demonstrated "admirable moral determination" in bringing these stories to light.
Currently, Baloch covers Pakistan for The Guardian newspaper. He has graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in Media and Communications.
Baloch told The News he is humbled for being given such a prestigious award. "I dedicate this award to those brave Pakistani journalists who have always stood their ground in holding the banner of free speech and objective reporting," he said.
"Indeed Pakistan is a haven for stories. I aspire to keep reporting out of Pakistan,” Baloch said.
Others who won awards included Nigerian journalist Fisayo Soyombo, who won the local reporter award and Syrian journalist Kamiran Sadoun won the news fixer award.
According to a statement received by Thomson Reuters Foundation, the jury for the freelance journalist category entries this year included The New York Times author and autobiographer Tina Rosenberg, Jon Lee Anderson from The New Yorker and The Intercept’s Peter Maass.