Armoured vehicle sales, forgotten residential school survivors, Bangladeshi climate refugees and Tanzanian girls fleeing FGM are among the human rights issues recently explored by Canadian journalists. Today, journalists who have pursued these stories, are recognized as winners of the 2016 Amnesty International Canada Media Awards.
For the National Print category, the winner is Steven Chase, for three articles about the “$15 billion Light Armoured Vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia”, The Globe and Mail, January 7, April 13, and May 11, 2016.
“These articles demonstrate the tenacious effort to get the facts and establish the human rights context for a massive sale of Light Armoured Vehicles to Saudi Arabia that Canadians seemed initially inclined to ignore,” says John Tackaberry, one of the judges. “While the government was suggesting they are little more than ‘jeeps’, Steven Chase exposed the truth about these armoured vehicles that in some cases are to be armed and are being sold to a government implicated in war crimes in Yemen and serious human rights violations within Saudi Arabia.”
In the Video/Audio category, Cullen Crozier wins for “Forgotten Survivors” APTN Investigates, February 19, 2016.
“By excluding former students in Newfoundland and Labrador from the original residential schools settlement, the federal government undermined the credibility of its apology for what is a national tragedy,” says Madelaine Drohan, one of the three judges. “More importantly, it worsened the plight of those already wounded by its actions. Cullen Crozier of APTN used their wrenching testimony to shine a spotlight on a glaring miscarriage of justice. He did so with just the right blend of sensitivity and directness to get the message across. Amidst many impressive entries in the audio/visual category, Mr. Crozier’s work stood out for the judges. It is heartening to know that several months after it was broadcast the federal government reached a financial settlement with this group of forgotten survivors.”
Josiah Neufeld is the winner for the Local / Alternative Print category for the feature article, “Hell And High Water” which was published in The United Church Observer, April 1, 2016. “Josiah Neufeld puts a human face on the real impact of climate change on the people of Bangladesh – one of the world’s nations most vulnerable to rising temperatures”, says Sue Montgomery, the third of the judges. “His piece details the daily struggle of climate refugees and their pleas for wealthy nations to reduce carbon emissions in order that they may survive.”
The winners in the Online category are Marc Ellison & Daniel Lafrance for the graphic novel “Safe House.”
“There are so many grim stories of man’s inhumanity to man, that the public risks becoming jaded and tuning out,” says Madelaine Drohan. “Marc Ellison and Daniel Lafrance overcame this obstacle by using an unusual format, the graphic novel, to tell the story of female genital mutilation in Tanzania. It was a particularly effective format for the stark subject matter, which included the ultimate betrayal by mothers who forced their young daughters to submit to this practice or risk being ostracized. By exploring solutions, such as the creation of safe houses for young girls fleeing their homes, the authors managed to cast a ray of hope in what would otherwise be a dismal story.”
The 2016 Youth Media Award winner is: “Untitled: The Legacy of Land in North Preston,” produced by Radio-Television-Journalism students* at Nova Scotia Community College. They are the second winners of the Youth Media Award for human rights journalism from a Canadian post-secondary institution. Read the full press release announcing the 2016 Youth Media Award.
The judges for the Amnesty International Canada Media Awards in English this year were:
• Madelaine Drohan, an author and Canada correspondent for The Economist,
• Sue Montgomery, freelance journalist and former justice reporter with The Montreal Gazette, and
• John Tackaberry, former Media Relations Officer for Amnesty International Canada and former reporter for Inter Press Service and Pacifica Radio News.
The stories that have received the National Print, Video/Audio, Local/Alternative Print and Online awards ran in the period from 1 October, 2015 to 30 September 2016.
For further information Jacob Kuehn
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