Nominations are open for Sheikh Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah's Journalism Excellence Awards (http://www.alwatan.com.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?Id=39796 ) in Kuwait, under the patronage of the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
The nominations will be open from July 1 to September 30. Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaber_Al-Mubarak_Al-Hamad_Al-Sabah ) also announced that significant changes have been made to strengthen the competition, now in its third year of existence. Enhancements to the contest include expanding the number of award categories, increasing the prize amounts and clarifying the rules for entry. The First Deputy Prime Minister told the committee that he pledges to provide "all necessary support to Kuwaiti journalists in an effort to help them develop their professional skills."
The creation of an awards program is a result of Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak's commitment to free press in Kuwait. He said any strong democracy must have a vibrant, free press in order to succeed. The First Deputy Prime Minister added that he believes journalistic freedom is the reason why there are many prize-worthy stories in Kuwait.
The most noticeable change to this year's contest is the expansion to four award categories. Beginning this year, awards will be handed out in the following groups:
- Best Report- Best Investigative Journalism- Best Interview- Best Picture
In addition, the prize amounts have increased. Each category will feature a KD 750 first prize, a KD 500 second prize and a KD 300 third prize. The articles or photographs must not have been published prior to January 1, 2009. It is also stipulated that the stories must be written in Arabic and be no less than 1,000 words.
All writers and photographers wishing to enter the competition must be members of Kuwait's Journalism Association (KJA) (http://www.kja-kw.com/ ). To maintain fairness and objectivity, no contest entrant can be related to anyone on the committee selecting this year's prizes. Also, articles submitted as nominations cannot have been entered in any other competition inside or outside Kuwait.