Six Exceptional Journalists Win Amnesty International Canada’s 24th Annual Media Awards

Amnesty International Canada is pleased to announce the six winners of the 24th annual Media Awards for 2018:
Print Long Form:  Stephanie Nolen, “Colombia’s peace deal brings a new season of fear”, The Globe and Mail, June 17, 2018
Print Short Form: Nathan VanderKlippe, “‘It is about Xi as the leader of the world’: Former detainees recount abuse in Chinese re-education centres”, The Globe and Mail, July 3, 2018
Video: Holly Moore, “The Cure was Worse”, APTN Investigates, October 27, 2018
Audio: Ryan Hicks, “Nothing to lose: root causes of migrations from Central America”, The World This Weekend/ L’heure du monde, CBC Radio/Radio Canada.…
Multi Media: Laura Lynch & Sylvène Gilchrist, Samira Mohyeddin and Karin Marley, producers.
 “Shakila’s story” CBC’s The Current, March 22, 2018.
Youth Media: Samantha Fink, “Invisible Disabilities Slip Through the Cracks”, The Queen’s University Journal, Queen`s University, October 3, 2018
The Amnesty International Canada Media Awards honour the efforts of journalists to increase Canadians’ awareness and understanding of human rights issues. In selecting this year’s winners, the four-member jury reviewed more than 50 entries from journalists across the country.
 In her winning piece, The Globe and Mail’s Stephanie Nolen illustrates the lives of Colombians still living in fear and chaos after the country ended its war with the Fighters of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
“What happens when a successful peace process fails to bring a country to peace? Colombia happens,” notes jury member Rick MacInnes-Rae “FARC rebels disarmed, but the failure of the state to extend stability to their territory created a power vacuum seized by a murder of crows from the political left, the right, and the drug-dealing centres.”
Nathan VanderKlippe, also of The Globe and Mail, delves into China’s sprawling, prison-like camps housing Muslim Uyghurs and Kazakhs – one of the most brazen, large-scale human rights abuses of our time – for his winning story.
“To write about it under China’s hostile reporting conditions—where Beijing weighs every word written or broadcast by foreign correspondents—demands courage and commitment. Nathan VanderKlippe coolly demonstrates both,” notes juror Bill Schiller.
“Relying on interviews with former detainees, VanderKlippe reveals a program of forcible indoctrination, mind-numbing recitations and supreme leader worship meant to crush the religious and cultural traditions of Muslim Uyghurs and Kazakhs.”
In “The Cure was Worse,” Holly Moore travels across Canada to interview survivors and their loved ones about a little-known dark chapter in Canadian history.  From the 1940s to the 1960s, thousands of Indigenous people were sent thousands of miles away from family and subjected to medical experiments.  Some never returned home.” 
“Moore brings us a moving investigation into unanswered questions, and the search for healing,” notes juror Lynda Calvert.
Laura Lynch and Sylvène Gilchrist, tell the story of Shakila Zareen, a 17-year-old Afghan refugee who was brutally shot in the face by her much older husband in Afghanistan. She fled to India, underwent multiple surgeries and lived to share her story from her new home in Canada (“Shakila’s story”).
“Shakila Zareen’s case, which has attracted international media attention, illustrates the precarious condition of women’s rights in Afghanistan,” says juror John Tackaberry. “The story also highlights the impact on Shakila Zareen of being accepted in Canada as a refugee after being rejected by the United States and Sweden. Now living in Vancouver, no longer hidden from sight, Shakila Zareen feels free to be seen.” 
CBC’s Ryan Hicks introduces us to an Indigenous Guatemalan woman deported four times from the United States in “Nothing to lose: root causes of migrations from Central America”.  This story shines a light on the poverty and violence that force many Latin Americans to flee Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, a region known as the Northern Triangle.
“In this expertly crafted short audio piece, Hicks says that Canada’s foreign policy for the region should move from economic diplomacy to aid for social development, assist in the effort to combat corruption and help to rebuild institutions in ways that will stem the relentless impetus for migration,” notes John Tackaberry.
For her work “Invisible Disabilities Slip Through the Cracks”, Samantha Fink wins the Youth Media Award.
Juror Rick MacInnes-Rae summarizes the story: “A diabetic student has nowhere to dispose of all her daily needles. A flashing light in the classroom endangers a student with epilepsy.  A deaf student needs her Prof to wear an FM transmitter.The world isn’t always fair to those with invisible disabilities. In a well-written piece rich in research and first-person stories, reporter Samantha Fink illustrates the overlooked and emerging need for new accommodation on campus.”       
As Samantha writes; “For… students living with invisible conditions—limiting a person’s movements, senses or activities—campus accessibility can have social implications beyond physical barriers.”
Amnesty International appreciates the tremendous efforts of the four Media Awards jurors, who have volunteered considerable time to judging this year’s entries John Tackaberry, former media relations officer for Amnesty International Canada and former reporter for Inter Press Service  and Pacifica Radio News; Bill Schiller, former Toronto Star foreign affairs reporter for bureaus in Johannesburg, Berlin, London and Beijing; Rick MacInnes-Rae, associate professor of journalism at Humber College and former CBC host, journalist and correspondent; and Lynda Calvert, member of the journalism faculty at Seneca College and former National Reporter with CBC News responsible for the bureaux in St. John’s, Montreal and Edmonton.
Now in its 24th year, the Amnesty International Canada Media Awards recognize journalists’ efforts to bring awareness to international human rights issues. 
The award ceremony takes place in Toronto on April 4, 2019.
For further information, please contact:
Elizabeth Berton-Hunter, Media Officer, Amnesty International Canada, 416-363-9933 ext 332
Lucy Scholey, Media Officer, Amnesty International Canada 613-744-7667 ext  236