Independent Afghan TV news station TOLO News has won the 2016 Agence France-Presse Kate Webb Prize for its consistently fearless reporting in one of the world’s most dangerous countries.
The prize, a 3,000 euro purse, honours journalists working in perilous or difficult conditions in Asia, and is named after a crusading AFP reporter who died in 2007 at the age of 64 after a career covering the world’s troubled spots, including Afghanistan.
TOLO News is a privately run station that is often critical of the insurgent groups that wreak carnage across Afghanistan. Its journalists are among a small band of media workers who put their lives on the line to explain what is happening in their war-wracked country.
“We are recognising TOLO News for its courageous work telling the stories of the people of Afghanistan, a place that is becoming ever more hostile for the media,” said Philippe Massonnet, AFP’s regional director for the Asia-Pacific region, and jury chairman. “By awarding the prize to TOLO as an organisation, we are also recognising the extraordinary work carried out by all Afghan journalists in ever-deteriorating conditions.”
Lotfullah Najafizada, the director of TOLO News, said the loss of so many valued friends and colleagues had made 2016 a difficult year. “This is a great honour for TOLO News,” he said. “The late Kate Webb was an inspiration to dozens of our journalists, who, like Kate, have earned a reputation for being fearless in the face of adversity.”