14 prizes for Post at rights awards

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 April, 2010, 12:00am

The deaths of Rohingya boatpeople, the Sichuan earthquake one year on and deadly chemicals affecting a village in Hunan were among the prize-winning reports by South China Morning Post journalists as the paper dominated international competition at the 14th Human Rights Press Awards yesterday.

The Post won a record 14 prizes and special merits across the news, features, magazine, cartoons, photo and commentary sections, beating major international news weeklies and agencies, as well as local and regional newspapers.

The team of Alan Morison, Chutima Sidasathian and Maseeh Rahman, former international editor Ian Young and chief Asia correspondent Greg Torode won the general news prize for exposing a secret Thai army policy of detaining Rohingya boatpeople from Myanmar, towing them to sea and abandoning them.

Reporters He Huifeng and Shi Jiangtao won a special merit for their story 'Hunan's stricken village', which examined the harrowing effects of chemical pollution on villagers. Mark O'Neill won a special merit for coverage of mainland lawyers battling to reform the system.

In the features section, reporters Al Guo and Raymond Li won the prize for their coverage of the Sichuan earthquake one year on. Paul Mooney won the prize for the magazine section for a gripping story of how young men were being kidnapped as slave labour in brick factories on the mainland.

Simon Parry won a special merit for his coverage of babies sold in Vietnam. Mooney also gained a special merit in the features section.

The Post's coverage of the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen crackdown also featured strongly, winning a special merit in features for the team of Albert Wong, Eva Wu and Vivian Wu, as well as a special merit in the commentary section for an editorial by Ramon Odlum. Torode also won a special merit in commentary.

Post photographers Sam Tsang and K. Y. Cheng won special merit awards in the spot news section for photographs depicting the life of 'cage men' in Hong Kong and the effects of pollution on health. Violet Law, of Post Magazine, won the main prize for photo features.

Cartoonist Harry Harrison won a special prize for a body of work.

Francis Moriarty, of co-organisers the Foreign Correspondents' Club, said the awards were dedicated to the memory of 32 journalists who were among 57 people killed in November during an ambush in Maguindanao in the southern Philippines.

Special guest was Myrna Reblando of the Justice Now! movement. Her husband, journalist Alejandro Reblando of The Manila Bulletin, was among the journalists murdered.

In an emotional speech in both English and Tagalog, Reblando appealed for help to bring the perpetrators of the massacre to justice.

The awards, co-organised by Amnesty International, the FCC and the Hong Kong Journalists' Association, recognise the work of 58 journalists, photo journalists and news organisations. Amnesty International Hong Kong's chairwoman, Mabel Au, said the awards brought to the fore once more stories that had been forgotten.