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Amnesty announces 2010 Media Awards winners

The winners of the prestigious 19th annual Amnesty International UK Media Awards were announced last night. The coveted awards recognise excellence in human rights reporting and acknowledge journalism’s significant contribution to the UK public’s awareness and understanding of human rights issues.
The winners in ten categories were announced at a ceremony at the British Film Institute in central London, hosted by ITV newscaster Katie Derham.
Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen, said:
'This year’s awards shortlists were striking for their huge diversity- the number of issues and the countries covered and for the range of media used to report them. These inspiring examples of human rights journalism showed skill, tenacity and courage. '
This year’s Gaby Rado Memorial Award, made to a journalist covering human rights for less than five years, went to Jamal Osman, the Somali journalist, who works for Channel Four and who only last week secured a very high-profile exclusive interview with the British couple held hostage by Somali pirates. His impressive portfolio included work on an investigation into aid stolen from Somali refugees; a piece entitled; “Somalia, the 'new Pakistan'?” and an exploration of the untold suffering of Kenya's Children's rights.
Also announced was the recipient of the Amnesty International Special Award for Journalism Under Threat, which recognises the courage of journalists around the world who pursue their legitimate journalistic work at great personal risk to themselves.
In an unprecedented move, Amnesty took the decision to bestow the special media award, not on an individual journalist, but on the collective independent media of the country of Burma.
Daw Nita May, who works for the BBC Burmese Service and is herself a former prisoner of conscience, collected the award on behalf of all independent media workers in her country, she said:
'I am indeed very much honoured to take part in the Amnesty International Media Awards Ceremony and to collect this award on behalf of all of my colleagues.
Many of the journalists working in Burma are my close friends and I'm in touch with them whenever possible.
I think it is brilliant that Amnesty is highlighting the perils facing journalists in Burma and hope that it gives courage and much needed support to media workers who risk so much in carrying out their valuable work of exploration and exposition. Without the information they are able to get from independent journalists, people in Burma would not know the real state of affairs.'
Among the 2,200 political prisoners currently behind bars in Burma, 40 journalists are among them.
Kate Allen said:
'Journalism is all too often a perilous pursuit and perceived as a threat by authorities. Independent journalism is very important for the people of Burma, both as an avenue in which to express their opinions, but also as a vital source of information. Independent news on the upcoming elections process is vital in keeping the world’s attention focused on Burma in what is going to be a critical year'.
Representatives of the DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma), an independent radio station which broadcasts back into Burma, including VJs who worked in conditions of extreme danger covertly in the country, are available for interview through the Amnesty UK press office this week.
The full list of winners from the night, comprised:
Jamal Osman, Channel 4 News
People and Power: Ingushetia - A Second Chechnya?, Al Jazeera
Antony Butts, Dom Rotheroe, Mike Chamberlain
Discrimination: Migrant Workers Rental Block, BBC Look North
Guy Lynn, Mark Hayman, David Weller
The Dark Side of Dubai, The Independent
Johann Hari
Chinese Petitioners, Financial Times
Jamil Anderlini, Edward Cheng
Congo: The Horror, GQ
Ed Caesar, Susan Schulman
The Return of the Bloody Diamonds, Live Magazine
Dan McDougall, Robin Hammond
Toxic Jeans, Sunday Times
Robin Hammond

Zimbabwe: What Mugabe Didn't Tell Us, BBC Radio 4 - Today Programme
Mike Thomson, Edward Prendeville, Ceri Thomas
Burma VJ, More 4 / Magic Hour Films (JOINT WINNER)
Lise-Lense Moller, Anders Ostergaard
Dispatches: Afghanistan's Dirty War, Channel 4 / October Films (JOINT WINNER)
Tom Roberts, Peter Lindley, Najibullah Razaq
The End of Sri Lanka's War, Channel 4 News / ITN
Jonathan Miller, Nick Paton Walsh, Nevine Mabro, Bessie Du, Matt Jasper, Ben de Pear

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