NEW YORK, NY: Asia Society announced today that Sudarsan Raghavan of The Washington Post has won the 2016 Osborn Elliott Prize for Excellence in Journalism on Asia, for a landmark, year-long series of articles on Afghanistan. Selected by an independent jury, Raghavan’s winning stories include investigative, profile, analysis and frontline reporting. The “Oz Prize”—a $10,000 cash award—is presented annually to the best example of journalism about Asia during the previous calendar year.
On behalf of the Oz Prize Jury, Chair Marcus Brauchli commented: “When President Barack Obama announced on Dec. 28, 2014, that combat operations would end in Afghanistan, Sudarsan Raghavan set out to explore the complex legacy and many challenges facing the country. His compassion in reporting on lives changed and generations lost, matched with his courage traveling the breadth of a land still at war, resulted in the most powerful kind of journalism: engaging, human and beautifully written.”
“Both Sudarsan Raghavan and The Washington Post are to be commended for this powerful series of stories on Afghanistan,” said Asia Society President and CEO Josette Sheeran. “From a portrait of a female cab driver in Mazar-e Sharif to an expose on the U.S. funding of Afghan militias, Raghavan’s stories have provided critical reporting at a momentous time. Asia Society is proud to honor this work.”
Raghavan said of his effort: “I wanted to explore the legacy the United States was leaving behind, as well as the challenges ahead for Afghanistan, its leaders and the United States military. In particular, I wanted to chronicle the conflict’s human dimension, its impact on the Afghan people.” The award will be presented at a luncheon honoring Raghavan on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at Asia Society in New York.
The Jury also praised “the wide range and ambition” of this year’s entries for the prize. In particular, it cited investigative journalism by the Associated Press, which exposed in damning and incontrovertible detail the practice of slavery in the fishing industry of Southeast Asia, and The Wall Street Journal, which revealed that hundreds of millions of dollars in a government-run investment fund were siphoned off for Malaysia’s Prime Minister. Both pieces of reporting have had significant repercussions and resulted in official investigations around the world. The Jury also praised the work of journalists from around the region whose work appeared in national or regional publications.
Sudarsan Raghavan is currently The Washington Post’s Cairo bureau chief, and has reported from more than 60 countries. He covered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, radical Islamist movements and global terrorism. He has also covered the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the 2011 Arab revolutions, and 17 African wars. He joined the Post in 2005 after working mostly in Africa for Knight Ridder, The Philadelphia Inquirer and Newsweek. He is the recipient of a George Polk Award, three Overseas Press Club Awards and the Livingston Award for international reporting.
Links to selected stories in the winning series follow: The unlikely life of Afghanistan’s first female taxi driver, February 26, 2015; Afghanistan’s defining fight: Technocrats vs. strongmen, April 12, 2015; As U.S. withdraws from Afghanistan, darkness falls on the Taliban’s birthplace, May 8, 2015; The Islamic State is making these Afghans long for the Taliban, October 13, 2015; and, Afghan government turns to militias as Taliban gains strength, October 29, 2015
The Oz Prize Jury is chaired by Marcus Brauchli, managing partner of North Base Media and former editor ofThe Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. The Jury also comprises: Carroll Bogert, President, The Marshall Project; Dorinda Elliott, editorial and communications director, Paulson Institute; Michael Elliott, former Deputy Managing Editor, TIME; Mei Fong, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author; Bobby Ghosh, Managing Editor, Quartz; Alec McCabe, Americas Team Leader for Training, Bloomberg News; Somini Sengupta, UN Bureau Chief, The New York Times. Norman Pearlstine, Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer, Time Inc. is Chairman Emeritus of the Oz Prize Jury.
The Oz Prize honors the late Osborn Elliott, legendary journalist, author and former editor-in-chief of Newsweek. Elliott was a leading figure in the field of journalism who became one of the earliest practitioners of “civic journalism”—the deliberate focusing of the journalistic enterprise on urgent issues of public policy.