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Amnesty Media Awards 2021: Winners announced

Prestigious Amnesty Media Awards 2021 winners announced at virtual ceremony

‘In a year when much of the world ground to a halt, thankfully the vital work of human rights journalism continued’ - Kate Allen

The winners of Amnesty International UK’s prestigious Media Awards 2021 have been announced this evening at a virtual ceremony.

In a year when much of the rolling news was dominated by the pandemic, many of the winning pieces focussed on lesser known issues facing people and countries.

BBC Africa Eye won Best Broadcast News for its powerful investigation analysing phone footage and other open-source material relating to a huge pipeline explosion in “Lagos Inferno”.

Open-source investigation was also celebrated in the Radio and Podcasts category, in which Bellingcat was awarded for its investigation into distressing footage of the execution of women and children by soldiers in Cameroon.

The Guardian’s “Fashion's Dirty Secret: How Sexual Assault Took Hold in Jeans Factories” revealed the abuse experienced by factory workers making Levi’s jeans in Lesotho and took top spot in the Best Features category.  BBC Storyville’s “Welcome to Chechnya: The Gay Purge” won Best Documentary.

Winners in each category were announced earlier this evening by a number of high-profile journalists involved in judging this year’s awards, including Unreported World’s Seyi Rhodes, Channel 4 News’ Jon Snow, Sky News’ Alex Crawford OBE and BBC News’ Clive Myrie.

Viewers of the ceremony were encouraged to support an Amnesty campaign calling for action on behalf of biology students and LGBTI+ defenders Melike Balkan and Özgür Gür, who are facing trial over a peaceful protest at the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara, Turkey.

Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said:

“The Amnesty Media Awards 2021 celebrate outstanding journalism in unprecedented times.

“In a year when much of the world ground to a halt, thankfully the vital work of human rights journalism continued – without which, the line-up of often harrowing and moving stories we have celebrated tonight would have gone untold.

“We pay tribute to the inspiring bravery and dedication of journalists who continue to uncover wrongdoing, hold those in authority to account, and help create a fairer world.”


Broadcast News

  • BBC Africa Eye: Lagos Inferno 

Judges:  Ben de Pear (Channel 4), Toby Castle (BBC News), Tim Singleton (Sky News), Kai Akram (Amnesty International)


  • The Guardian : Fashion's dirty secret: how sexual assault took hold in jeans factories

Judges: Alice Fishburn (FT Weekend), Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff (gal-dem), Homa Khaleeli (The Guardian), Josie Ensor (The Telegraph), Frankie Goodway (TBIJ), Maggie Paterson (Amnesty International)

Radio and Podcasts

  • Novel: The Bellingcat Podcast - Series 2

Judges: Aasmah Mir (The Times Radio), Felicity Finch (Freelance Journalist), Laura Kuenssberg (BBC News), Nihal Arthanayake (BBC Radio 5 Live), Owenna Griffiths (BBC Radio 4), Sam Lawlor (Amnesty International)

Student Journalist

  • Nimra Shahid , City, University of London: Cummings recruit sacked after suggesting police use 'live rounds' on BLM protesters

Judges: George Arbuthnott (The Times), Jemma Crew (Press Association), Kenneth Sanchez (Freelance Journalist), Simi Jolaoso (BBC South West), Stuart Allan (Professor of Journalism, University of Cardiff), Niall Couper (Amnesty International)

Gaby Rado award for New Journalist

  • Nellie Peyton, Thomson Reuters Foundation & Robert Flummerfelt, The New Humanitarian: Over 50 women accuse Ebola aid workers of sex abuse in Congo

Judges: Bethan McKernan (The Guardian), Jon Snow (Channel 4 News), Louis Rado (Gaby's son), Nadine White (The Independent), Sahar Zand (Freelance Journalist), Harriet Garland (Amnesty International)


  • BBC News Arabic Documentaries: Undercover in the Schools that Chain Boys

Judges: Andy Lee (Channel 4), Clive Myrie (BBC News), Zing Tsjeng (Vice News), Alex Crawford OBE (Sky News), Neil Durkin (Amnesty International)

Regional Media

  • BBC Radio Foyle: Special reports on domestic abuse during lockdown

Judges: Dippy Chaudhary (BBC Inside Out), Gail Walker (Belfast Telegraph), Julian Carey (BBC Wales), Rachel Hamada (TBIJ), Pauline Kelly (Amnesty International)


  • Smita Sharma, National Geographic Magazine: Stolen Lives

Judges: Claire Thomas (Freelance Journalist), Mark Sealy MBE (Autograph ABP), Philip Coburn (Daily Mirror), Sara Rumens (The Times), Tariq Zaidi (Freelance photojournalist), Richard Burton (Amnesty International)

Best use of Digital Media

  • AJ Contrast and Al Jazeera Digital: Living in the Unknown

Judges: Joe Pickover (Press Association), Karenina Velandia (BBC World Service), Kiran Moodley (Channel 4 News), Richard Moynihan (The Telegraph), Theresa Malone (The Guardian), Rachel Reilly (Amnesty International)

Written News

  • Middle East Eye: The Killing Fields of Libya’s Tarhuna

Judges: Anushka Asthana (The Guardian), Dan Hyde (The Mail on Sunday), Joseph Winter (BBC News Online), Manveen Rana (The Times), Laurie Hanna (Amnesty International)


  • Public Square Films for BBC Storyville: Welcome to Chechnya: The Gay Purge

Judges: Emma Westcott (Channel 5), Sarah Waldron (BBC), Seyi Rhodes (Channel 4), Tom Giles (ITV), Neil Durkin (Amnesty International)

The full list of Media Awards 2021 finalists can be found here.


You can enter next year’s awards now by visiting the Amnesty Media Awards website:

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