Amnesty announces Media Awards 2008 winners

The winners of the 17th Amnesty International UK Media Awards were announced this evening. The 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 were announced in a ceremony at the Royal Horticultural Halls hosted by broadcaster Moira Stuart. Among the ten categories were two new ones covering International Television & Radio and New Media.

The New Media award was made posthumously to Iraqi journalist Sahar al-Haideri, who was shot dead just weeks after the Institute for War and Peace Reporting published her article – ‘Honour killing’ sparks fears of new Iraqi conflict - on its website.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen, who presented the award to colleagues of the winner, said: “Every year we acknowledge the dangers faced by journalists but it was awful to be in the position this time of having to present an award posthumously.

“Journalists play a vital role in exposing injustice and helping to defend human rights around the world, producing work of tremendously high quality in difficult, challenging and often dangerous circumstances.”

The recipient of the Amnesty International Special Award for Human Rights Journalism Under Threat was also announced. Amnesty has been making this award for ten years but this year’s recipient, Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani, former editor of Yemen’s political weekly newspaper Al-Shora, was unable to attend the ceremony having been imprisoned a week earlier.

Alan Johnston, who won Amnesty’s Radio award last year, on the very day he was released from captivity in Gaza, was at this year’s ceremony to announce the Special Award and highlight the threat to other journalists around the world. He said: "I benefited hugely from an extraordinary amount of public support when I was in captivity, and for that I will always be grateful.

“But of course there are so many journalists in countries like Iraq, Sri Lanka and the Philippines who go largely unnoticed by the outside world as they endure extraordinary pressures. Among them are some of the best and the bravest in our profession, and we need to be more aware of the work they do and the sacrifices that they make.”

The winners

GABY RADO MEMORIAL AWARD (for a journalist covering human rights for less than five years)

Xan Rice, The Guardian

Judges: Andrew MacDonald, John Mullholland, Maggie Paterson, Desa Rado, Jon Snow


The lost tribe - Secret army of the CIA, Al Jazeera English: Eunice Lau, Stephanie Scawen, Tricia Tan, Tony Birtley

Judges: Mike Blakemore, Katherine Butler, Tim Marshall, Naresh Puri, Tim Singleton


Iraqi interpreters series, The Times: Deborah Haynes

Judges: David Barrett, Michele Lavery, Anna McKane, Maggie Paterson, Hamant Verma


Honour killing’ sparks fears of new Iraqi conflict, Institute for War and Peace Reporting: Sahar Al-Haideri

Judges: Sara Ashton, Mel Herdon, Rupa Huq, Sue Matthias, Sally Thompson


Congo to Motherwell, BBC Scotland (television): Fiona Walker, Dorothy Parker, Fiona Walker, Matt Pinder, Hilary McCusker-Thompson

Judges: Patrick Corrigan, Robin Denselow, Tomos Livingstone, Professor Monica McWilliams, Shereen Nanjiani

PERIODICALS (a winner announced in each subcategory)

Newspaper supplements

Selling soccer into slavery, Live (Mail on Sunday magazine): Jonathan Green

Consumer magazines

Russian media freedom, Index on Censorship: Fatima Tlisova, Sergei Bachiwin, Alexei Simonov

Judges: Kamal Ahmed, Jeremy Dear, Gabriela Flores, Isabel Hilton, Ian Hislop, Maggie Paterson


Congo unrest, Newsweek: Cédric Gerbehaye

Judges: Helen Healy, Marie O’Riordan, Maggie Paterson, Carlos Reyes-Manzo, Charlotte Schmidt, Roger Tooth


Where there's muck: Mike Thomson in the Congo, Radio 4, Today Programme: Pascale Harter, Ceri Thomas, Mike Thompson

Judges: Jenny Abramsky, Jane Anderson, Mike Blakemore, Henry Bonsu, Jill Burridge


Storyville: The devil came on horseback, BBC FOUR / Break Thru Films: Gretchen Wallace, Jane Wells, Annie Sundberg, Ricki Stern, Nick Fraser, Brian Steidle

Judges: Chris Atkins, Mike Blakemore, Sophie Chalk, Cait Fitzsimons, Jane Kerr


Too young to die - Children's rights of the frontline, ITV News / ITN: Chris Rogers, Deborah Turness, Tony Hemmings

Judges: Mike Blakemore, Mishal Husain, Sarfraz Manzoor, Kim Sengupta, Darshna Soni


Abdul Karim al-Khaiwani

The Special Award For Human Rights Journalism Under Threat is made by a panel of Amnesty experts and activists from the organisation's UK headquarters and its International Secretariat.

View latest press releases