The Agahi Awards are an annual series of awards for journalism in Pakistan, developed under the umbrella of the Credibility Lab at Mishal for creating an appreciation methodology for ethical and quality content. The evaluation methodology and criteria of the awards has been designed on the pillars of Media Development Indicators of UNESCO, in collaboration with the Center for International Media Ethics (CIME) and UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The Awards were inaugurated in March 2012 and have become the most prestigious awards for the journalism in Pakistan.
The Awards have created appreciation for journalism in more than twenty different categories including business and economy, conflict, corruption, crime, education, infotainment, the nexus between water, energy and food security, gender and governance, health, extremism and terrorism, peace, interfaith, dignity; thus creating media diversity across print, television, radio and the online media.
The Awards have two special categories “Current Affairs Anchor of the Year” and “News Channel of the Year” in Pakistan. Both these categories are on the basis of people’s choice, which includes voting for these two categories by reaching out via social media engagement, SMS campaign and direct feedback.
To ensure diversity in content and more social issues to be highlighted in media, Mishal Pakistan in collaboration with Save the Children created the health category further dividing them into six sub-categories. This has not only increased the quantum of health content in media, but has also encouraged journalists to write more on the socio-economic challenges in Pakistan.
This year AGAHI Awards received an overwhelming response by the journalist community, where more than 1500 nominations were received from all over the country across more than 20 different categories. The jury will now be evaluating the entries in the coming days.
The jury has been selected from a group of global industry leaders in media, research institutions and civil society representatives, including Lisa Witter (USA), Abebe Gellaw (Ethiopia), Kevin Lu (World Bank), Muna Abusulaman (former founding secretary general of Al-Waleed bin Talal Foundation, KSA), Michele Wucker (President, World Policy Institute, USA), Biola Alabi (President MNET Network TV, South Africa), Dr. Naif Al-Mutawa (creator of THE 99 from Kuwait), Dr. Pier Luigi Parcu (Director of the Centre for Media Pluralism and Media Freedom at the European University) , Abdulsalam Haykal (CEO of Haykal Group, Syria), Mark Glaser (Executive Editor of MediaShift and Idea Lab), Patrick Butlerof ICFJ, launch managing editor of BBC News Online in 1997, David Brewer (former managing editor of CNN.com EMEA and CNNArabic.com)
The leading Pakistanis on the jury include, Dr. Saleem H. Ali, (professor of international studies and director of the Centre for Social Responsibility at the University of Queensland, Australia), Wajahat Ali, Afia Salam, Naveen Naqvi, Babar Taimoor, Advocate Jameela Aslam, Jehan Ara, Phyza Jameel and Zahid Hussain. The jury also includes twelve professors and chairpersons of leading media and journalism schools in the country.
Academic partners for Agahi Awards 2013 from the disciplines of journalism and mass communication include: Fatima Jinnah Women University (Rawalpindi)
Press Clubs in Lahore, Peshawar, Karachi, Multan, and the National Press Club along with the Kashmir Press Club (Mirpur) and the Tribal Union of Journalists, Center for International Media Ethics, Ethical Journalism Network, Media Helping Media, Save the Children, Devex, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Press Council of Pakistan, Internews Network, Center for Investigative Journalism (Bosina-Sarajevo)
Mishal Pakistan is the country partner Institute of the Center for Global Competitiveness and Benchmarking Networks at the World Economic Forum. Established in 2003, Mishal has been engaged with key stakeholders in Pakistan to improve the state of media through good governance initiatives.