Senior journalist from Jammu and Kashmir Yusuf Jameel has been selected for the 2019-2020 PEN Gauri Lankesh Award for Democratic Idealism. “His work in journalism shows an exemplary commitment to professional integrity and the ideals of democracy,” reads the citation of the award. PEN South India and PEN Delhi have instituted the award “to cherish the idealism and commitment of Gauri Lankesh,” the editor-activist murdered in 2017. It carries a purse of ₹1 lakh.
Mr. Jameel has been a celebrated journalist in Jammu and Kashmir who has worked in Urdu and English and in print and radio for over three and a half decades starting from early 1980s. He has worked with various publications starting from Urdu daily Aftab and later with The Telegraph, BBC, Reuters, Time and The Asian Age. He was awarded the International Press Freedom Award from Committee to Protect Journalists in 1996. In September 1995, a cameraperson was killed and Mr. Jameel injured when the former opened a letter bomb addressed to Mr. Jameel.
“In the context of rising insurgency in the Kashmir Valley in the late eighties and the nineties and the very complex conflict scenario that has evolved since, his work as a reporter pioneered fearless and candid journalism in Jammu and Kashmir… His work shows a deep level of social engagement and concern and has contributed immensely to the traditions of fair and courageous reportage,” the citation said.