The Ali Mustafa Memorial Award for People’s Journalism

Application deadline: December 15, 2016

Value: $3,000



About the Award

Ali Mustafa was a freelance photojournalist whose images from Syria, Egypt, Palestine, Brazil and his native Toronto captured both the resilience of ordinary people in conflict zones and the spirit of resistance and revolution. Reporting from the frontlines, Ali’s work was featured in The Guardian, Le Nouvel Observateur, Journal du Dimanche, Les Echos, and The Times of London.

On 9 March 2014, Ali was killed in Hadariyeh, a rebel-held area of Aleppo, by an explosion from a barrel bomb dropped by a Syrian government aircraft. Ali was photographing the destruction and helping those who had just moments earlier been hit by a barrel bomb. Ali was only 29 years old at the time.

As a young and emerging journalist, Ali had no institutional or press agency support and his only income came from the photographs he was able to sell to news agencies. Yet, he remained deeply committed to using his camera as a tool for documenting people’s struggles for justice and to report, as he put it, ‘what must be told, what will not be forgotten.’

To honour Ali’s life and work, the Ali Mustafa Memorial Collective (AMMC) has launched an annual award to support other freelance journalists documenting causes or issues related to struggles for social justice. The Ali Mustafa Memorial Award for People’s Journalism seeks to remember Ali, pay tribute to his craft, and offer assistance to other freelance journalists who lack institutional support. Ultimately, the award seeks to honour Ali’s unwavering belief in a journalism that both popularizes and contributes to social justice struggles around the world.

Associated Media and Community Partners:
Canadian Media Guild, News Photographers Association of Canada, Canadian Journalists For Free Expression, Mayworks Festival of Working People and The Arts, Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, No One Is Illegal – Toronto

Award Details

The award provides one-time funding to assist an individual freelance journalist in carrying out a photojournalism project that helps expand public understandings of a contemporary social issue or that contributes to social justice activism. It will be distributed once a year.

The award will be valued at a maximum of $3,000 (CAD) and may be used to cover the following costs: travel expenses, equipment, training, visa, insurance, and living expenses (if traveling abroad). The successful candidate will also be provided a one-year Freelancer Membership in the Canadian Media Guild (valued at $150) and a one-year Professional Membership in the News Photographers Association of Canada (valued at $75).

All applicants are required to provide a proposed project, schedule, and budget. Successful candidates will be asked to provide a final report of all incurred expenses no later than 30 days after the completion of the project.

Eligibility Criteria

All eligible candidates must:

  • Be based in Canada (Canadian citizenship or legal status is not required)
  • Be under the age of 35
  • Propose a photojournalism project
  • Not be employed on a full-time, permanent, or salaried basis by any media organization (*Applicants who are affiliated with a media organization on a part time, contractual or temporary basis remain eligible*)

The proposed photojournalism project must:

  • Help expand public understanding of a contemporary social or political issue or contribute to a grassroots movement dedicated to social justice
  • Be carried out within 12 months following the announcement of award results (*Please note that all applicants are required to propose a project schedule at the time of application*)

Please note:

  • The award does not require Canadian citizenship or legal status
  • Applicants from underprivileged and under-represented communities are particularly encouraged to apply

Application Process

All applications should include the following:

  • Application form, including project description, tentative schedule and personal statement – download .docx or .pdf
  • Proposed budget – download .docx or .pdf
  • Sample of photo/videography work (see submission guidelines for details)
  • Resume – max 3 pages (Please note that extensive past experience is not required)

Incomplete or late applications will not be accepted.

Please send all components of the application in one email to:

Application timeline:

September 1, 2016 – Applications open
December 15, 2016 – Application deadline
February 1, 2017 – Notification of results

Recipient Responsibilities

The successful candidate will:

  • Complete proposed project within 12 months following the announcement of award results
  • Communicate any changes to the proposed project to the AMMC
  • Provide a complete financial report of expenses within 30 days following the completion of the project using a form provided by the AMMC (All original receipts of expenses paid with the award must be kept for submission upon request)
  • Showcase and/or give a talk about completed project at an event organized in Toronto by the AMMC in March of the following year
  • Allow, upon their consent, use of name/pseudonym and photo(s) in AMMC media communications, events, and website