Journalist Zaffar Abbas honored with Gwen Ifill award


LAHORE: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has awarded veteran journalist and Editor Dawn Zaffar Abbas with the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award for “extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom”.

The prestigious CPJ’s Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award – previously known as the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award – was renamed in 2017 to honor a former board member who passed away in 2016.

According to the CPJ website, “the award is presented annually to an individual who has shown extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom.”

“Zaffar Abbas is the embodiment of journalistic courage, which is why the board is so pleased to honor him with the Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award,” said Kathleen Carroll, chair of the CPJ board.

Notable past recipients of the award include Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian who was awarded in 2012, The Associated Press’s Kathy Gannon who was the recipient in 2015, and CNN’s Christiane Amanpour who received it in 2016.

Abbas, a seasoned journalist, started his career in 1981 when he worked as a junior reporter for the Karachi-based newspaper The Star. In 1988, he began working at the Herald, a prestigious monthly magazine, as its investigative reporter. Four years later, he joined the BBC World Service as a Pakistan correspondent in Islamabad.

In 2006, Abbas left the BBC to join Dawn, where he reported on events including insurgency and civil war in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation and post-9/11 policies and developments in the region. In 2010, he was named Dawn‘s editor-in-chief, replacing Abbas Nasir.