For press freedom by Sunanda Deshapriya
By Channel 4 News
02 June 2010
Channel 4 News picked up both awards it was nominated for at last night’s Amnesty Media Awards. Our Sri Lanka coverage won the TV News Coverage and Somalia journalist Jamal Osman won the Gaby Rado award for new journalists.
The Amnesty Media 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”.
In the TV News Category, the team behind Channel 4 News’ Sri Lanka coverage won against stiff competition from Sky’s “Falujah Babies” report and another Channel 4 News piece – Nick Martin’s report from Ciudad Juarez on child trafficking across the US border.
The Sri Lanka entry comprised a report into internment camps that saw Nick Paton Walsh deported from the country, the airing of a video purporting to show Tamil soldiers being executed, and the eventual UN verdict that authenticated that video. Deputy Foreign Editor Tim Lambon collected the award on behalf of the team and recognised the collective efforts of the Channel 4 News team, and fixers on the ground in making the coverage possible.
Sri Lanka reports
Execution video: is this evidence of ‘war crimes’ in Sri Lanka?
Correspondent expelled from Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka video ‘appears authentic’
Jamal Osman was recognised as an emerging new talent in human rights reporting for his work for Channel 4 News.
He picked up the Gaby Rado award for journalists who have been pursuing this area of journalism for less than five years. In particular, his work exposing the ‘cash for aid’ scandal behind the World Food Programme in Somalia was recognised. Last week, he secured an exclusive interview for ITN with the British couple Paul and Rachel Chandler who are still being held hostage in Somalia.
Jamal Osman reports
UN probe after aid stolen from Somalia refugees
Somalia kidnap: Chandlers’ plea to Cameron
Blog: interviewing the Chandlers
On the trail of the Detroit bomb suspect
Channel 4 News Editor Jim Gray commented: “These awards remain incredibly important – and it is an honour to be recognised for highlighting human rights atrocities through our journalism. Our coverage of the end of Sri Lanka’s war exemplified the values we hold dear – it was fearless, challenging and required tenacity, patience and courage from everyone involved- it’s fantastic to see that effort rewarded.
“Likewise, in the short time he has been covering human rights stories for us Jamal has demonstrated a natural instinct for telling these untold stories around the world – so it’s great that he has been recognised as an emerging new talent.”
It was a good night for Channel 4 in general – More 4 and Channel 4 shared the award for “Television documentary and docudrama” for ‘Burma VJ’ and the Dispatches documentary on Afghanistan’s Dirty War.