The Al Jazeera English Online unit AJ Shorts was honoured alongside fellow awards winners from The New York Times, Reuters, BBC, Washington Post and leading East Asian news outlets at this year’s Human Rights Press Awards ceremony in Hong Kong.
The AJ Shorts digital documentary, Growing up too Fast in Afghanistan, won in the Short Video (English) category, which was announced at the event on May 16. The film is the first-person narrative of a 14-year-old boy, Khudai, whose father was killed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, or ISIS) group, forcing him to abandon school and take odd jobs to ensure the survival of his mother and five younger sisters.
Filmed and directed by Preethi Nallu, Growing up too Fast in Afghanistan also garnered two awards at the Webby Awards gala in New York City earlier this month.
Al Jazeera Media Network’s director of Digital Innovation and Programming Carlos Van Meek said he is proud of his team’s accomplishments.
“This was a great collaboration between our broadcast partners and our digital team. I credit everyone involved for thinking laterally and working together across platforms to get the most out of a great story. Much more of this to come,” said Van Meek.
The Human Rights Press Awards presented 52 awards in recognition of outstanding human rights-focused journalism from across Asia. Winning entries ranged from high-profile issues such as the plight of Myanmar’s Rohingya, to under-reported topics such as the extrajudicial killing of Muslims in India, and the hardships faced by stateless minority communities living precariously along Cambodia‘s waterways.
The award for Best Investigative Feature Writing went to Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues in recognition of their chilling work Myanmar Burning, which documented military atrocities including extrajudicial killings against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Shortly after publishing the report, Myanmar authorities imprisoned the two journalists for more than 500 days.
AJ Shorts Commissioning Editor Andrew James Phillips said his team’s win provided “a big lift to continue telling stories of ordinary people in extraordinary and often extremely challenging circumstances”.
“We’re honoured to receive such an important accolade,” Phillips said.
Keynote speaker Maria Ressa, cofounder and CEO of the Philippines-based news website Rappler, summed up the role that human rights storytelling and reportage play in global media.
“Your reporting matters now more than ever,” she said, addressing the audience in Hong Kong. “We need to hold the line and show the best of human nature. That is our hope for the future.”
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt condemned a violent attack by a Donald Trump supporter on a BBC cameraman at an El Paso, Texas, rally on Monday. Hunt linked the violence to a troubling surge in fatal assaults against journalists, whom he praised as the “invisible line between open and closed societies.”
A man wearing a red “Make America great again” cap was captured on video attacking BBC cameraman Ron Skeans at the rally before he was pulled off the journalist. Ironically, the MAGA violence erupted at a rally where Trump talked of improving safety in the nation.
“It is never acceptable when journalists and cameramen are attacked just for doing their job,” Hunt said Tuesday on Sky News. “There is a broader issue here, which is that last year 80 journalists were killed across the world just doing their job.” (Hunt addresses the incident in the video here at 8:33.)
“We are very worried about this because freedom of the press is the invisible line between open societies and closed societies. It’s very, very important that we protect the ability of journalists to do their jobs.”
Hunt added, in an apparent reference to America: “We have to make sure that it’s not acceptable anywhere in the world for journalists to be impeded from doing what they should do, which is to tell the public exactly what’s going on and hold power to account.”
Unlike Hunt, Trump frequently slams the press as the “enemy of the people.”
Last year Trump praised Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.), who body-slammed a Guardian reporter after the journalist asked Gianforte a question about health care on the eve of his election victory. “Any guy who can do a body slam, he is my type,” Trump said in a speech at a Gianforte re-election rally last fall, triggering outraged criticism. “He’s a great guy, a tough cookie,” Trump added.
At his own campaign rally in 2016, Trump encouraged supporters to attack protesters. “If you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you?” he said. “Just knock the hell … I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.”
Gary O’Donoghue, the Washington correspondent for the British public service broadcaster, called the attack on Skeans “incredibly violent.” He complained that the “goading of the crowds against the media” is “a constant feature” of Trump’s rallies.
This is the shameful moment when my cameraman Ron Skeans was attacked at an @realDonaldTrump rally in El Paso last night – warning this video contains strong language. Happily Ron is fine. #TrumpElPaso12.3K7:13 AM – Feb 12, 201910.3K people are talking about thisTwitter Ads info and privacy
Following the attack, the BBC wrote a letter to the White House demanding a “review of security arrangements” for media covering Trump’s rallies.
The White House News Photographers Association also condemned the attack. “Given that the president’s rhetoric about journalists is too often false and derogatory, we ask that he refrain from unnecessarily targeting journalists with his speech since such rhetoric may be inciting violent acts such as this one,” the association said in a statement.
CJR Editors email@example.com via mailchimpapp.net|AIWA! NO!|In late November, as the Gilets Jaunes—or Yellow Vests—protest movement took hold in France, Martin Goillandeau and Makana Eyre wrote for CJR that participants were harassing, and even assaulting, journalists. Since then, the protests have become a weekly occurrence. So, too, have threats against reporters. “The harassment and violence have got worse,” Eyre told me this morning. “I went to the Saturday protests in Paris to shoot photos and see how big it would get. This was the first time that I really felt nervous with my camera… I saw people interfering with broadcasts, shouting at media teams, and getting in their faces. For much of it, I had my camera in my coat.”
This past weekend, a group of Yellow Vests in the northern city of Rouen set upon two journalists working for LCI, a French TV news broadcaster; they were spared by two bodyguards, one of whom ended up in hospital with a broken nose. Protesters aggressed another LCI team in Paris. In Toulon, two Agence France-Presse reporters were chased by about 10 people, while in nearby Marseille, photographers were hassled and blocked from taking pictures. In Toulouse, a group of protesters trapped a 31-year-old local journalist in her car and threatened her with rape. “They wanted me to open my window. I told them it wasn’t possible, that I had to go and pick up my son,” she recalled. “A man threatened me that I had two seconds to get out.” Organized groups have hampered newspapers’ core operations, too: overnight on Friday, for example, about 30 Yellow Vests blocked regional newspaper La Voix du Nord’s distribution depot and threatened to burn a truck, stopping 20,000 copies of the paper from being delivered. On Sunday, trash cans were set on fire outside the same paper’s offices. While no motive was immediately established, its director doesn’t think it was an accident.
Hatred of the news media among Yellow Vests derives from a poisonous cocktail of old and new grievances: as the sociologist Jean-Marie Charon told Le Monde, French radicals’ longstanding distrust of the press has been exacerbated of late by perceived negative coverage and anti-corporate rhetoric aimed at the big media companies. Public trust in journalists is critically low. And the media has lacked consistent support from politicians, who, as in the US and elsewhere, have indulged anti-press attacks more frequently in recent years. On Saturday, Noëlle Lenoir, a former government minister and (ironically) president of Radio France’s ethics committee, tweeted that the LCI journalists in Rouen bore responsibility for being attacked.
Yellow Vests’ attacks on journalists are complicated by the fact that it’s unclear who, broadly speaking, might reasonably be held accountable for them, or call for them to stop. The Yellow Vests movement is highly diffuse: while some activists have effectively become spokespeople, it lacks leadership and a coherent ideological agenda. An unpopular hike in diesel tax sparked the protests—neon yellow vests only became a symbol because French motorists are obliged to keep them in their cars—but that policy has long since been scrapped, and still tensions continue. Copycat movements have started, albeit on a much smaller scale, in other European countries, including the UK. But again, beyond a general sense of anti-establishment rage, it’s not easy to define what links different “Yellow Vests” movements.
For now, politicians and well-intentioned activists—via public platforms and out on the streets—should speak out in support of the press, and look out for the journalists who, by doing their jobs, are putting themselves in harm’s way. And media-watchers in the US should pay attention. In France, the fear of routine physical violence against reporters has become real.
Below, more on the Yellow Vests: