A Dawn reporter was one of six journalists who won top honours on Thursday at the Pakistan Data Journalism Awards 2019 organised by Media Matters for Democracy, a Pakistan-based not-for-profit initiative.
The winners — representing four local, national, and international news organisations — include Ramsha Jahangir of Dawn, Swat-based journalist Niaz Ahmad Khan, Alia Chughtai and Asad Hashim of Al Jazeera English, former Express Tribune reporter Riazul Haq, and former Samaa Digital journalist Hisham Sajid.
The awards were distributed at a ceremony in Islamabad.
The contest received 76 entries from journalists representing different types of media, including print and digital, and various publications from all over Pakistan.
The contest jury comprised media strategist Sahar Habib Ghazi, broadcast journalists Amber Rahim Shamsi and Hamid Mir, and Media Matters for Democracy co-founders Asad Baig and Sadaf Khan.
Ramsha Jahangir of Dawn won the awards in two categories:
- Best Use of Data in a News Report or Series
- Best Data Journalist Portfolio (Print)
According to a statement issued by Media Matters for Democracy, Jahangir was recognised "for her in-depth and tenacious coverage of online freedom of expression issues, social media regulation, and the manipulation of social media conversations by political parties".
Ghazi said the stories showcased Jahangir's skill at unwrapping data in the narrative form.
The 'Best News Investigation of the Year' award was won by Swat-based journalist Niaz Ahmad Khan for an investigative report exposing the police tactics to misreport cases of honour killings in the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Alia Chughtai and Asad Hashim of Al Jazeera English received the award for 'Best Data Visualisation for News' for their collaborative work on a series of interactive visualisations about Pakistan's 2018 general elections.
The award for 'Best Use of Data in a News Report (Online)' was bagged by Riazul Haq, a former staffer of The Express Tribune.
Hisham Sajid was honoured in the 'Best Data Journalist Portfolio (Online)' category for his stories on elections and economic activity for Samaa TV’s news website.
The awards committee also presented an honourable mention trophy to Khalid Khattak, a journalist with The News International and founder of online data journalism website Data Stories for his consistent efforts towards the promotion of data-driven news reporting in Pakistan.
Asim Bashir Khan, an economist and freelance writer, also received an honourable mention for his data analysis and commentary on Pakistan’s economic situation.
Sadaf Khan, Director Programmes of Media Matters for Democracy and jury member, said the contest is an effort to encourage evidence-based investigative reporting in the country.
“We hope to recognise the work of local journalists who are using data and documents to highlight issues of public importance and bring accountability and transparency in governance,” she added.