Friday, 4 June 2010

Human Rights Journalists Honoured at Amnesty Awards.

By Ben Aulakh

A Somali Journalist and the independent media of Burma were among the winners at the 2010 Amnesty Media Awards.

The event was held at the British Film Institute on Tuesday June 1 in central London and presented by ITV newscaster Katie Derham.

The honours recognised excellence in human rights reporting, and acknowledged the significant contribution journalists have made to raising public awareness and understanding of human rights issues. 

Somali reporter Jamal Osman – who works for Channel 4 – was given the Gaby Rado Memorial Award.

Mr Osman’s portfolio of work included an investigation into aid stolen from Somali refugees, and an exploration of the suffering of Kenya's children.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen, said, “This year’s awards shortlists were striking for the huge diversity of issues reported on and the number of countries covered.

“They were also special for the range of media used to report them, these inspiring examples of human rights journalism showed skill, tenacity and courage.”

There was also recognition for the journalists in Burma, in an unprecedented move Amnesty chose to bestow an award upon the collective independent media of the country.

Daw Nita May – a former prisoner of conscience who works for the BBC Burmese Service – accepted the award, she said, I think it is brilliant that Amnesty is highlighting the perils facing journalists in Burma.

“I hope that it gives courage and much needed support to media workers who risk so much in carrying out their valuable work.”

“Without the information they are able to get from independent journalists, people in Burma would not know the real state of affairs.”

Other winners included Johann Hari, a writer for The Independent newspaper, for his work ‘The Dark side of Dubai,’ and three reporters from Channel 4’s Dispatches programme on ‘Afghanistan’s Dirty War.’

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