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
Ecuadorian officials are travelling to London to allow US prosecutors to “help themselves” to items at the embassy – including legal papers, medical records and electronic equipment – the organisation has claimed.
WikiLeaks said neither Assange’s lawyers nor United Nations officials were allowed to be present for the handover of possessions. The material is said to include two of Assange’s manuscripts.
His lawyers said an illegal seizure of property had been requested by the US, describing the country as “the agent of political persecution” against the WikiLeaks founder.
Assange was dragged out of the embassy last month and is serving a 50-week prison sentence for bail violations. He faces an extradition request from the US after authorities there charged him with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion.
Kristinn Hrafnsson, editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, said: “On Monday Ecuador will perform a puppet show at the Embassy of Ecuador in London for their masters in Washington, just in time to expand their extradition case before the UK deadline on 14 June.
“The Trump administration is inducing its allies to behave like it’s the Wild West,” she added.
Baltasar Garzon, international legal coordinator for the defence of Assange and WikiLeaks, said: “It is extremely worrying that Ecuador has proceeded with the search and seizure of property, documents, information and other material belonging to the defence of Julian Assange, which Ecuador arbitrarily confiscated, so that these can be handed over to the agent of political persecution against him, the United States.
“It is an unprecedented attack on the rights of the defence, freedom of expression and access to information exposing massive human rights abuses and corruption. We call on international protection institutions to intervene to put a stop to this persecution.”
Ben Brandon, the lawyer representing the US at a recent extradition hearing, said there were computer room chats showing real-time discussions between Chelsea Manning and Assange over an attempt to gain access to classified US documents.
Earlier this week Swedish prosecutors announced they would reopen a 2010 rape case against the WikiLeaks founder.
Additional reporting by PA
The White House on Wednesday released a tool that invites people who’ve been censored on social media and who suspect political bias as the cause to “share your story with President Trump.”
The first page says:
SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies.
No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.
In claiming that social media platforms demonstrate anti-conservative bias, Republicans have found a reliable generator of right-wing outrage. President Trump, the whiner in chief, feels personally mistreated by social media, despite having said that he wouldn’t have been elected without it. In a meeting last month, Trump reportedly asked Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, why he’d been losing followers; Dorsey replied that everyone loses followers sometimes as Twitter sweeps the platform for bots. The following week, Trump went on a tirade after Facebook banned accounts linked to“conservative thinkers” like Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, and Milo Yiannopoulos.
So it was no great surprise when, on Wednesday, Trump put up an online questionnaire inviting members of the public to share their stories of social media “bias.” “SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH,” it reads. New York’s Max Read went as far as to call this “the apotheosis of Trumpism—a masterpiece of the politics and prerogatives of our current president.” The questionnaire allows people to channel their helpless frustration with big tech into an “emotionally satisfying” partisan grievance, Read writes—plus, it’s a scam. The form asks for a host of personal details, including your name, phone number, email address, zip code, social media account handles, and (of course) citizenship status. “It’s just going to be used to assemble a voter file, which Trump will then pay Facebook millions of dollars to target with ads about how biased Facebook is,” Kevin Roose, a tech columnist at The New York Times, tweeted.
The most concerning thing about the questionnaire, however, is who is doing the data harvesting. The form was posted not by Trump’s reelection campaign or an affiliated group, but by the federal government. Yesterday, journalists and privacy advocates pointed out myriad problems with the White House collecting people’s personal information. The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties nonprofit, wrote, in a letter to Trump, that the questionnaire is likely illegal because Typeform, the platform hosting it, drags in and stores data beyond that which respondents consent to give. The structure of the form may also violate the First Amendment, they argue. What’s more, the questionnaire asks respondents to upload screenshots proving alleged discrimination by social media companies. As Mashable observed, the White House’s terms of service give it the right to “edit, display, publish, broadcast, transmit, post, or otherwise distribute” those screenshots in any way the administration sees fit.
The questionnaire fits a disturbing pattern of Trump and his proxies using official government resources to advance personal political agendas. As I wrote in March, the White House Twitter account—which shared the social media bias form—commonly amplifies Trump’s attacks on the press; at one point, it posted a video dissing The Washington Post’s coverage of the border. As 2020 nears, the press must navigate Trump’s tangle of politics and misuse of federal resources. The social media questionnaire may seem small, but as Brian Schatz, Democratic senator for Hawaii, told Politico, it’s a troubling gesture of authoritarianism. “I think it raises questions related to the abuse of power,” he said.
Below, more on Trump, social media, and blurred ethical lines: