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Youre going to write what? Rip it up and start again

Last night the BBC lit up the central London sky with a tower of light as a tribute to journalists killed doing their job.

Your trusty blog correspondent was in the area (Portland Place) armed with his projector pencil and canny Canon ready to report it all for this blog. But, like the hapless journalist I would doubtless be, I turned up at 11pm thinking the “Breathing” light column would be going strong. Nope. Switched on by Ban Ki-Moon at 10pm, switched off soon after. Or so said some technician bloke I accosted in the street.

Jeez! Serves me right for nursing my pint of ice water at the nearby Social for a solid hour. (A “Rip It Up” tribute night to the mighty Edwyn Collins; bit of a weakness of mine: jangly 80s indie rock, baritone crooning and a brief appearance – which I missed! – from the awesome Hatcham Social).

Anyway (indie night and missed story apart) journalism and human rights is very much the theme of the day, not least as the office is all abuzz ahead of our annual media awards later tonight. We’ll be dishing out Amnesty gongs for the best human rights journalism of the past year. They’re much coveted! All the journos are after them. Forget knighthoods, lucrative columns with huge “picture bylines”, your own show on Sky – it’s an Amnesty media award they all want.

I’ve already mentioned in this blog the incredible fact that last year’s media awards ceremony fell on the very same day that the BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston was released by his kidnappers after nearly four months’ captivity. Read more from our director Kate Allen on this.

So, this year Alan’s actually in our midst at the awards to present a “Special Award For Human Rights Journalism Under Threat”. He’ll be giving the award to either Aqil Xalil, a young journalist stabbed and hospitalised apparently because of his work in Azerbaijan, or to the Yemeni journalist Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani. There’s just one problem – as readers of this blog will have noticed – Abdulkarim was locked up last week. Read more, and check back for a new Amnesty appeal on Abdulkarim’s case (up soon at this link). 

So, I’m off to spread the Amnesty word among the assembled hacks. I reckon they’ll have something to say from the event – we're getting their comments on this blog at the event.

Right, a triple helping of Paracetamol could be in order. Hundreds of journalists talking their heads off in one room! It’s a bigger racket than the music I like….

About Amnesty UK Blogs
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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