To mark the World Press Freedom Day,The Rural Media Network Pakistan (RMNP) today conferred the 2017 Sadiq Press Freedom Award on late GulzarAhmed Chaudhry correspondent leading English Daily newspaper “Dawn” Bahawalnagar which carries a cash award of Rs 50,000 (US$500).This year RMNP Sadiq Press Freedom Award was instituted with the support of veteran journalist, media consultant and former Director International Press Institute (IPI) Alison Bethel McKenzie.Gulzar Ahmed Chaudhry who died on January 14,2017 had about 57 years experience in journalism..He had been affiliated with leading newspapers like Nawa-e-Waqt,Pakistan Times and Dawn and was life time president of district press Club Bahawalnagar.He was fearless fighter of press freedom and staunch follower to ethical journalism .During his prolong journalistic career, late Gulzar Ahmed Chaudhry paid huge costs for fighting for press freedom as upholder of truth.He faced detention in the era of military dictator Filed Marshal Ayub Khan and his weekly newspaper,Khawar s’declaration was canecelled for several times in an other military dictator General Yahya Khan regime .During the judicial crisis in 2006-2007, late Gulzar Ahmed Chaudhry led protest rallies against dictator General Pervez Musharraf in Bahawalnagar resultantly police attacked his house manhandled his son and registered two FIRs against his journalists colleagues , but no one could deter him from writing the truth.His contribution to journalism would be remembered for long as he was the lone voice that kept inspiring the young journalists of the backward Bahawalnagar district ,said President RMNP Ehsan Ahmed Sehar in a statement issued here today.he paid rich tributes to late Gulzar Ahmed Chaudhry for supporting RMNP in its fact finding mission regarding the killing of Bahawalnagar Express Tribune correspondent Ahmed Ali Joiya in May 2013.At the earlier stage of murder of the journalist late Gulzar Ahmed Chaudhry provided information was based on real facts which was proved during case trial and International media watchdog ” Committee to protect journalists” acknowledged it,he added.
Recognising Mr Chaudhry;s courage and dedication to the profession an award of PKR 50,000 will presented to his son Muhammad Ahmed Chaudhry district reporter TV channel ” ARY NEWS” on the eve of World Press Freedom Day .(3rd May,2017). Late Gulzar Ahmed Chaudhry was a symbol of the struggle for the right to information and reminder to the international community about the tragic conditions journalists in Pakistan faced last year when seven media personnel lost their lives and Pakistan was ranked as 147th out of 180 countries in the 2016 World Press Freedom Index ,RMNP statement said.
The RMNP Sadiq Press Freedom Award was founded in 2005 and aims to recognise the courage and commitment of journalists and media organisations and to focus national and international attention towards the state of media freedom in Pakistan.For more information visit www.ruralmedianetworkpk.org