Detained Bahraini Photographer Ahmad Hmaidan Competes for Gov’t Press Award
2016-05-06 - 8:51 p
Bahrain Mirror (Exclusive): A photo taken by detained photojournalist Ahmad Hmaidan is nominated to take part in an official government prize, which was recently announced in Bahrain to encourage national journalism.
Journalist Ahmad Hmaidan, who is serving a 10-year jail term since 2014, completed the measures taken to participate in the competition for the award, entitled "Khalifa bin Salman Press Award" in the Best Press Photo category.
The photo was taken in Jaw Central Prison in which most of political prisoners are held. The photo, which Bahrain Mirror managed to receive a copy of, shows journalist Hmaidan making the victory sign with his right hand, sticking out of the prison cell door slot.
The award administration committee received the original photo nominated for the award along with the publishing party, application, photographer's biography and copy of his passport. The award terms allow prisoners to take part in the competition.
The Ministry of Information Affairs announced on April 29, 2016 the launch of the "Khalifa bin Salman Press Award" on World Press Freedom Day, within the framework of "supporting and encouraging all that serves the national press in terms of form and content".
"All Press institutions and journalists in local, weekly or quarterly newspapers or magazines that are issued in Bahrain in Arabic and English may participate in the award with works published between 2014 and 2015," the ministry further stated.
Hmaidan's photo, nominated for the prize, meets all the announced requirements, including the time of publication.
The award will be granted in four categories, namely the best opinion article, the best Press report, the best Press interview and the best Press photo, covering that political, economic, sports and cultural fields. The deadline for participation is May 7.
Hmaidan has previously won the National Press Club's 2014 John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award, for which he applied from inside prison. "Ahmed Humaidan is a photojournalist, not a criminal," stressed the NPC President, Myron Belkind, concerning the reasons for granting him this award.
The Ministry of Information noted that the presented works will be examined by jury comprising high-profile journalists, media persons and academicians, known for their competence and excellence.
Ahmad Hmaidan was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2014 over ostensible charges of attacking police station in Sitra. Hmaidan, for his part, refuted the charges and stressed that he is paying the price for doing his job in covering the events in photographs.
Humaidan even told his family and lawyer that his interrogators subjected him to psychological torture and threatened to kill him.
In a speech delivered on World Press Freedom Day, the King of Bahrain Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa said: "We are proud that our country did not witness the imprisonment of any journalist," which international reports refute. For its part, Reporters without Borders, concerned in freedom of press in the world, said that it classified Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen and Syria among the worst Arab countries for freedom of press for 2015.
Hmaidan's nomination for this award could shed the light on his imprisonment as well as 9 other journalists and photographers who are serving lengthy prison terms for solely doing their jobs in covering the political protests.
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