3 J&K Photojournalists Receive Pulitzer In New York

Srinagar- After a pandemic-induced hiatus, two Kashmiri photojournalists and their Jammu colleague were among dozens of journalists, poets and authors who were honoured at the Pulitzer Prizes ceremony held at Columbia University on Saturday.

The three J&K based scribes Dar Yasin, Mukhtar Khan, and Channi Anand were given the prestigious award in 2020 for capturing life in Kashmir after the scrapping of Article 370 executed through the communication clampdown.

“Receiving the Pulitzer Prize at Columbia University in New York. What a great honour. A big thanks to both families AP and home. I am humbled,” Mukhtar Khan, one of the winners, wrote on his Twitter handle.

Pertinently, the awards presented on Saturday have only covered 2020 and 2021. The winners of the 2022 awards, which were announced in May this year, will be recognized at a separate ceremony in October.

The highly acclaimed Pulitzer Prize was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer. It is administered by Columbia University and is considered to be the most prestigious award in the field of Journalism. These awards recognise journalists who are at the frontlines of blatant challenges and are intrepid in their commitment to reporting.

The three J&K based photojournalists are currently associated with the American news agency, Associated Press.

“Snaking around roadblocks, sometimes taking cover in strangers’ homes and hiding cameras in vegetable bags, the three photographers captured images of protests, police and paramilitary action and daily life — and then headed to an airport to persuade travellers to carry the photo files out with them and get them to the AP’s office in New Delhi,” Associated Press had said in 2020 after the three lensman won the Pulitzer Prizes.

Notably, Dar Yasin and Mukhtar Khan were first Kashmiri journalists who were bestowed with the prestigious award. In May, Sanna Irshad Mattoo, a Kashmir based photojournalist currently associated with Reuters, became the third Kashmiri journalist to have won the Pulitzer Prize.

One of the winners Mukhtar Khan who started his career with the Kashmir Observer and later joined AP in early 2000 has covered Kashmir conflict extensively. Besides Khan, Dar Yasin South has also covered the Kashmir situation besides the 2005 devastating earthquake and its aftermath.

The photographs for which the three AP photojournalists were awarded Pulitzer were termed as “Striking Images of Life” by the Pulitzer jury. Jointly the honour carries US $15000.

Besides the three honoured lensmen, among those who rejoiced in the award were members of Kashmir’s media fraternity who flared up the exhilarating moment with their congratulatory messages.

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Zaid Bin Shabir

Zaid Bin Shabir is a special correspondent at Kashmir Observer. He tweets @Zaidbinshabir

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