Gong! This is Brixton calling

So well done to Brixton Electric Radio. Winning four Sony radio awards is no mean achievement and amazing for a prison radio station.

PopSugar might think it’s all about Chris Evans getting two awards or Vanessa Feltz getting hers, but I’d say that a bunch of prisoners doing award-winning broadcasting from a south London HMP is way more interesting.

In broad Amnesty terms there’s a lot to be said for the rehabilitative quality of teaching inmates something useful (like broadcasting skills) and, after all, if fallen heroes like Chris Evans can be rehabilitated via radio, I don’t see why serious criminals can’t be either.

I can declare an interest (sort of) here by saying that I was interviewed as an Amnesty spokesman for BER a few years back. It was one of (dozens!) I’ve done on Guantánamo (of all things). So, I was in the interesting position of talking to a UK prisoner-interviewer about one of the world’s most notorious prison camps. The most obvious point throughout the interview, of course, was that whereas Brixton inmates had actually been tried and convicted (unless on remand…?), GITMO detainees were being held for years without charge. And I don’t think prisoners at Guantánamo were ever allowed to run a radio station …More background in Zoe Williams' excellent Guardian feature here.

Awards are sometimes scoffed at (gong!) but at Amnesty we’re keen on them, dishing them out every year to reporters who’ve produced especially good human rights journalism. The other week, for example, I was listening to a batch of entries in our international TV and radio category. All strong stuff, not least one of the ones that made the shortlist, a World Service “Outlook” piece about the amazing Palestinian doctor, Dr Abuelaish (as mentioned in my Telegraph blog yesterday). As the old cliché rightly has it, sometimes there’s nothing like radio for stunning immediacy.

So – a final thought. If you, dear Amnesty blog reader, happen to come across any particularly good TV, radio, photography, print or online-only human rights reporting in the coming months, please email me at the Amnesty office: neil.durkin@amnesty.org.uk.

We can see if they fancy entering the prestigious Amnesty media awards. There could be a gong in it for them…

PS: also, well done to David Rodigan for winning a Sony award for his Kiss Radio reggae show (Rodigan’s Reggae!). Anyone who’s willing to work the one love vibe gets my vote!

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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