Al Arabiya's correspondent in Baghdad Ali Khalaf was awarded the Journalistic Courage Award for the exposure of a computer theft case.
Ali Khalaf got the award in the field of investigative journalism after running a report on the Al Arabiya News Channel about the mysterious disappearance of a shipment of computers given as a gift from the American forces to schools in the Babel governorate in central Iraq.
In his report from Basra in southern Iraq, Khalaf revealed that the computers were sold at the Umm Qasr port to an Iraqi tradesman in a deal that he described as "suspicious."
With his colleagues Shaker Awad and Montazer Rashid, Khalaf followed the threads of the case till he found out that the computers were being sold in Basra.
From there, the Iraqi government opened an official investigation into the matter and were able to retrieve 4,000 computers, which constitute half of the stolen PC's. The whereabouts of the other half is still unknown.
The Journalistic Courage Award is given by the Baghdad-based Journalistic Freedoms Observatory (JFO), whose duty is to defend journalists and protect press freedom in Iraq as well as expose any violations to which the media may be exposed.
JFO is funded by the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX), a U.S.-based non-profit organization that provides programs to strengthen civil society and encourage independent media.
Recipients of JFO awards are chosen based on their role in cases that affect public welfare like exposing financial corruption and human rights abuses.
(Translated from the Arabic by Sonia Farid)