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KARACHI, Feb 16: Pakistan Herald Publications Limited has announced the inception of the ZM Award for Journalistic Excellence to recognise the contribution of seasoned journalist Zubeida Mustafa, both to Dawn and to the field of journalism in Pakistan.

Zubeida Mustafa worked at Dawn for 33 years and has written extensively on education, international relations, women’s issues and human rights, among other subjects. Her work has been recognised internationally through a number of awards, including a lifetime achievement award she received in 2012 from the International Women Media Foundation. She has also edited several books.

According to a statement, the ZM Award for Journalistic Excellence will be given every year in order to recognise “the contributions of women in journalism. The award seeks to highlight issues and individuals so that a critical mass for change is created”. The award will consist of a citation along with a Rs100,000 cash prize.

The statement further says that “the aim [of the award] is to honour women writers and reporters who have under difficult circumstances … shown strength and integrity in discharging their professional duties”.

Reports on any Pakistan-specific themes are acceptable, though preference will be given to “those that go beyond the areas of interest traditionally ascribed to women”.

As per the rules of the competition, investigative news reports and news features can be entered. However, comment, research and non-journalistic work is ineligible. The award is restricted to reports published in Pakistan-based English-language publications and the entries should have been published in the last calendar year (in this case 2012). Women working as full- or part-time journalists with a Pakistani publishing house can apply, while freelance writers whose work has been published in an accredited Pakistan-based publication are also eligible to apply.

Submissions should concern issues that have relevance, directly or by implication, to Pakistan. The entries must meet ethical guidelines and professional journalistic standards and rely on credible sources and data. The last date for submission is April 15.

Further details, including guidelines, the procedure for submission as well as the application form for the competition, are available at