The managing editor of KirkukNow Shorsh Khalid received this year’s the Pen Martyr Soran Mama Hama prize for Freedom of Journalism, as one of the three winners handpicked for the award by an independent committee.
The event took place on 21 July in Sulaimaniyah, marking the 10th year of the assassination of Soran Mama Hama, a journalist working from Kirkuk.
After receiving the award, Khalid said, “The award was presented to two other people and me, after an evaluation of our work in the past and now, especially concerning the freedom of journalism.” He added, “The award pleases me as it’s a fruit of 13 years of work for me and 13 other staff members who worked with me in different media outlets.”
He said the prize is also for his outlet KirkukNow, which covers the developments of the disputed areas, “They have the role in expanding the freedom of journalism as working throughout these areas is not easy.”
The security forces did not allow the event to take place in its original location, as the event managers decided to organise it among the public. However, the security forces attacked a reporter from Payam TV and later forced the participants to leave the place.
Mama Hama was assassinated when he was 21, working with Levin magazine on 21 July 2008, and the legal case into his assassination is still open, while no one has been arrested.
The annual prize is given to three figures each year, to praise their role in working to promote the freedom of journalism.
Khalid has been working as a journalist for 13 years, now as the managing editor of KirkukNow. He has been working with KirkukNow since 2011.
Khalid was born in 1985 in Kirkuk City, but he was forced to leave the city with his family when he was only four years old by the former Baath regime.
He obtained a bachelor degree in journalism in 2006 in the University of Sulaimaniyah.
He started journalism with a student paper named Khwendni Liberal (Liberal Studies) and later joined many other outlets, including Hawlati, Dastur, and Rozhnama.
He was also a reporter for IWPR for five years.
He became the editor-in-chief of Hawlati newspaper in 2015 until the paper ceased to issue.
He had a role in expanding KirkukNow’s work to include all disputed areas, including Ninewa, Salahadin and Diyala.