Grand Prize Winners:
Saira Shah, Reporter; Cassian Harrison, Director/Producer;
and James Miller, Camera with special footage provided by
the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).
"Beneath The Veil"
Broadcast by Channel Four (UK) and CNN Presents (USA)
This extraordinarily powerful documentary reports on life under the Taliban in Afghanistan before the attacks of 9/11. "It was intended to grab attention of viewers who didn't think they needed to care about Afghanistan," explains Saira Shah for whom "Beneath the Veil" is also a personal story of return to the homeland of her Afghan-born father. "We felt that the neglect of Afghanistan justified the use of powerful firsthand testimony by the Taliban's victims and of disturbing footage of massacres and public executions." Some of the gripping and most shocking footage of public executions and other human rights abuses was shot secretly by members of the Revolutionary Afghan Women's Association (RAWA) who courageously risked recording abuses of the Taliban regime while wearing their required traditional head-to-toe garments known as burkas. Shah herself donned the burka to travel with RAWA into the heart of Taliban-controlled Kabul to covertly film in hospitals, forbidden schools for girls, and underground beauty salons.
This is to inform you that Saira Shah's video, "Beneath the Veil," has won our prestigious SAIS-Novartis International Journalism Grand Prize for Year 2001.
Our jury was keenly aware of the crucial role the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan played in the making of this documentary. We salute all your members for their courage! We would like to invite your organization to send a designated representative to Washington D.C. to receive a trophy and some of the cash award being given to the Grand Prize winners.
SAIS-Novartis Awards Program will cover all the travel expenses, including airfare and 3 nights lodging in Washington D.C. Our awards events will be held April 11 and 12th.
We are all aware of the new suffering caused by the recent earthquakes and our hearts are with you and your people even more as a result. We do hope that you can send someone to our event and share more of your activities with our Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) students, faculty--as well as the Washington community.
For more information about us, please look at our website: www.journalismprize.org
Best wishes--and thank you for your contribution to "Beneath the Veil"-- and to your country.