Palestinian photojournalist Mahmud Ajrami has been awarded the second best photographer in the international Rory Peck competition just concluded in London.
Ajrami won the award for filming the Israeli bombing of a school ran by the UNRWA in Beit Lahia, which was a refuge for Palestinian civilians who left their homes during the last war on the Gaza Strip.
The prize has been awarded annually since 1995, for the daily news coverage, best story, and the best humanitarian footage that have had an international impact, or contributed to the change of policies or concepts.
Ajrami received the “Sony Impact award” after competing with hundreds of photographers from all over the world. He was short-listed in the final three photographers of the competition. The competition was tough with strong challenges from a photographer from Russia and another from Ireland. Ajrami’s photographs were highly valued by the panel and described as “powerful and creative”.
The significance of the prize comes from being the major social occasion for fund raising for charitable work by the Rory Peck Fund which provides grants and aid to the families of photographers who were killed while on duty.
This award is the outcome of a joint effort by international media organisations. It draws sponsorship from international media agencies such as Sky News, Associated Press, and the BBC. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Reuters are also among other media organizations who contribute to the award.
It is noteworthy that Ajrami, who works as director of Photography Media Group, survived certain death on more than one occasion. Most recently he was injured after he was targeted by an Israeli tank shell.
Ajrami has won many other press awards, one of which was the “Courage in Journalism” received last year.