2015 Kurt Schork Memorial Awards in International Journalism
Winners of the 2015 Kurt Schork Awards were Liberia-based Australian Clair MacDougall, Freelance category, and Ukrainian Ekaterina Sergatskova, Local Reporter category.
War reports behind the lines in Ukraine and the silent horrors of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia provided the winning stories.
148 journalists from 56 countries submitted 444 published reports. A shortlist of eight in each of the two categories were judged by The Independent (UK) Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet, international freelance journalist and author Anna Husarska; and former Reuters editor Sean Maguire, Director, Global Communications, Plan International.
Other finalists, in the Local Reporter category, were:
- Soma Basu (India), Mai Shams El-Din (Egypt), Ismail Alexandrani (Egypt), Shaila Rosagel (Mexico), Anton Vodianyi (Ukraine), Camini Marajh (Trinidad & Tobago) and Ashutosh Bhardwaj (India).
Freelance Journalist covering International News category:
- Alex Perry (UK), Rania Abouzeid (Lebanon/Australia), Ty McCormick (USA), Tristan McConnell (UK), Sandra Weiss (Germany), Anjan Sundaram (France) and Tom Parfitt (UK).
The judges said they did not wish to encourage risk-taking but expressed the belief that some stories necessarily require great risk, reflecting the journalistic spirit of Kurt Schork in whose name the awards were created after he was killed in Sierra Leone in 2000 while on assignment for Reuters.
The two winners each received a cash prize of US $5000, presented by freedom of the media advocate Peter Greste at a prestigious awards ceremony in the Thomson Reuters auditorium, Canary Wharf, London, on Thursday evening, October 29.
Since 2009, the awards ceremony has been hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation in London.
Peter Greste, former Reuters correspondent now with Al Jazeera English in Nairobi, said: “The ‘war on terror’ has changed the dynamic. It has given governments a free pass to lock up journalists.”
Greste, deported from Egypt in February after 400 days in prison and subsequently sentenced in absentia to three years in jail, said there was a tendency to use the “war on terror” as an excuse to limit the work that journalists were doing.
Asked whether he thought it was getting worse, The Guardian’s diplomatic editor Julian Borger, said: “Yes, I do . . . As a model, we’re losing ground. As a model, we’ve lost a bit of our self-confidence.”
Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international correspondent, said there was a chilling effect on free speech and the ability to question. “The surveillance world is surreptitiously removing our freedom from us.”
Two journalists were selected as this year’s winners of the $5,000 annual awards. Clair MacDougall was the winner of the freelance category. An Australian journalist, she has worked in West Africa since 2011 where she was Reuters correspondent for Ghana until January 2012 and stringer for Liberia for the year ending January 2013. Based in Monrovia, she covered the Ebola epidemic from its outbreak.
Ekaterina Sergatskova of Ukraine won in the local reporter category for her coverage of the fighting in eastern Ukraine. She was unable to receive the award in person because the British government did not grant her a visa.
The awards commemorate correspondent Kurt Schork who was killed in Sierra Leone in 2000 while on assignment for Reuters.
The two winners were selected from entries by 148 journalists from 56 countries who submitted 444 published reports.
The ceremony was hosted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation at the London offices of Thomson Reuters.
By Barry May/thebaron.info
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