Only 2 weeks left to enter the #Amnestyawards for Digital media who do you think should win this year?

Recent events in North Africa and the Middle East, where reporters have been harassed, arrested and attacked while trying to report on pro-democracy protests, have reminded me again of the importance (and difficulty) of good human rights reporting.

Time and time again, Urgent Action bulletins to Amnesty’s global membership drop into my inbox on behalf of a journalist somewhere in the world who’s been locked up or threatened just for doing his or her job.

And regardless of the ongoing saga of Julian Assange’s extradition battle, the Wikileaks cables – not to mention the tide of tweets coming out of north Africa and the middle east – have highlighted the power of digital media to bring human rights stories to a mass audience and of the impact those stories can have on those in power.

I remember chairing the judging panel for the 2009 Amnesty International Digital Media Award, which was ultimately won by a story about extrajudicial executions in Kenya from the then-little-known Wikileaks. Here’s some of the judges comments:

“Amazing story.  Good use of the internet.  I want to do more research on Wikileaks.”
“The site is a fantastic idea in itself. The Wikileaks concept is really clever.”
“A model for what big media players should be doing. An innovative site doing things in a different way.”

Little did we know at the time that Wikileaks would go on to be the word on every journalist’s lips by the end of the following year.  

The Amnesty International Media Awards aim to acknowledge and encourage excellence in human rights reporting in the UK, in categories including newspapers, radio and TV news and magazines. The Digital Award is for innovative digital content appearing for the first time on a UK-based website covering news, blogs, features and comment or debate, audio and visual material.

The closing date for entries into this year’s Amnesty International Media Awards is 1 March – two weeks from now. We’re very keen to get as many people to enter the awards as possible, particularly smaller sites (who can benefit from a sponsorship fund to cover their entry costs).

Last year’s winner was the FT for its reporting on China, with nominations for Duckrabbit’s superb DRC report and Guardian’s online coverage of the death of Ian Tomlinson at the London G20 protest. There have been some great examples of online human rights journalism over the last 12 months, though as I suspect I’ll be chairing the judging panel again it’s probably bad form for me to name my favourites (not that I get a vote, I just have to keep order!)

But I would like to know your favourites- what are the human rights stories online that have caught your eye in the last year? (And if you know the journalist who wrote it – tell them to enter!) Who should win in 2011? Leave a comment and let me know.

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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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