Friday, October 24th, 2014

Dark practices in Australia’s treatment of refugees are the subject of winning stories in the nation’s “Oscars” for human rights journalism.

The award for best news story in print in the United Nations Association of Australia Victorian Division went to The Guardian Australia for disclosing secret documents detailing the appalling condition of detention centres and the serious health risks facing refugees’ children face.

The shocking fate of Australia’s longest-held refugee in detention was exposed in the Sydney Morning Herald. Peter Qasim has been living in limbo in Australia as successive governments refuse to grant him permanent visa status. He spent seven years in detention centres because the authorities were unable to confirm his identity. After a public outcry he was released but is still refused permanent visa status.

On a happier note, the prize for the promotion of multicultural issues went to a gentle documentary following a tentative meting at Tasmania’s first detention centre between refugees and local knitters. Out of the knitting of beanies a friendship is formed and bigotry and ignorance are dispelled.

Internationally, attention was drawn to the policy of fear and intimidation used by the Israeli army in targeting Palestinian children. The documentary-award winning ABC TV Four Corners program focused on children’s rights, and was sensitive and respectful. Produced with The Australian newspaper, the program caused an international storm.

ABC TV News won its category with a report on abuse in Victoria’s child protection system. A result of long, patient work, it led to legal reforms.

Similarly, ABC Radio’s Background Briefing used evidence and emotion to tell the story of child abuse in the Salvation Army, harrowing account that increased public awareness of the lifelong impact of abuse.

A local newspaper’s innovative examination of violence against women and their children won another award. The Ballarat Courier’s well-researched, five month campaign drew on many voices and experts and dispelled the myth that “women are to blame”.

SBS Radio won took out a prize for exposing the almost unbelievable trade in human organs over several borders in the Middle East. The news report told of an Eritrean refugee now living in Australia, kept captive for several months in Egypt by criminal gangs connected to organ harvesters.

Tenacious reporting was a feature of the TV current affairs prize winner ABC’s 7.30 NT. As corporate Australia pushes to develop Northern Australia with controversial projects, including fracking and the rehabilitation of the contaminated Ranger uranium mine site, the program examined whether authorities are heeding the environmental and community concerns of Northern Territorians.

An exposé of the plight of people with mental illness in Indonesia, who are physically restrained at home under the care of their families, won the photojournalism award. The estimated 18,000 victims live in squalid conditions, caged or restrained with ropes or chains.

A multimedia SBS Online package on the Cronulla Riots captured events in a compelling way, combining the strengths of both broadcast and print media. The tone and nuances of speech were there, as well as in-depth analysis. Users are able to move from the documentary at any point to a rich collection of interactive content to gain a deeper understanding of the conflict and how it unfolded.

The awards were presented at a gala dinner held on Friday the 24th of October at the Hilton On The Park in Melbourne.

2014 Media Awards Winners

Print – News

Oliver Laughland and David Marr, The Guardian Australia - Guardian Australia's asylum seeker health coverage

Print – Feature

Andra Jackson, The Sydney Morning Herald - Forgotten: A lonely life lived without hope

TV – News

Dan Oakes and Sam Clark, ABC News – Out of Home Care Abuse

TV – Current Affairs

Jane Bardon and Franco Pistillo, ABC 7.30 NT - They’re Not Listening

TV – Documentary

John Lyons, Janine Cohen and Sylvie Le Clezio, Four Corners ABC TV - Stone Cold Justice

Radio – News

Beyene Semere Weldegiorgis, SBS Radio - Surviving the terror of the organ-harvesting trade

Radio – Documentary

Sarah Dingle, Background Briefing ABC – The Salvos: A Matter of Trust

Special Commendation: Sarah Knight, Karen Tighe and teams from ABC Local Radio, Radio National and Classic FM in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, ABC Appeal for Syrian Refugees      


Ingetje Tadros, Daily Mail - Caged Humans in Bali


SBS Online, Northern Pictures and Screen Australia, SBS Online – Riots: The Day That Shocked The Nation

Promotion of Indigenous Recognition

Andrew Pike and Ann McGrath, Ronin Films - Message from Mungo   

Promotion of Positive Images of the Older Person

David Brill and Geoff Parish, Dateline SBS TV - Free The Bears

Special Commendation: Sally Sara, David Martin, Dan Sweetapple, Marianne Leitch, Scott Munro and Steve Taylor, ABC TV Foreign Correspondent- GRANPOWER!

Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Women’s Rights and Issues

Kim Quinlan, The Courier Ballarat - It’s Up To Us

Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Children’s Rights and Issues

John Lyons, Janine Cohen and Sylvie Le Clezio, Four Corners ABC TV - Stone Cold Justice

Promotion of Multicultural Issues

Heather Kirkpatrick, Waratah Films -  Mary Meets Mohammad                  

Proudly sponsored by:

Contact Profile

Patricia Collett

P: 03 9670 7878
M: 0418 544 315


media, awards, presentation, children, women, rights, social issues, humanitarian, justice, UN, news, reporters, journalists, news, current affairs, television, documentary, online, photojournalism, indigenous




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