BBC London lands double in CRE media race awards

Barling: joint winner of the television news award for BBC London

BBC London walked away with both the radio and television news prizes at this year’s Race in the Media Awards, organised by the Commission for Racial Equality.

BBC London 94.9’s The Eddie Nestor Show won the radio news category, while BBC London’s Kurt Barling was joint winner of the television news award with Channel 4 News. Judges remarked that in his reports, Barling had “made quite normal the presence of black or Asian participants in the news agenda”.

Dippy Chaudhury picked up the children and youth award for BBC London with an episode of the regional current affairs magazine programme Inside Out. The Eddie Nestor Show and Inside Out: Peckham Boys were both produced by BBC London’s Community Affairs Unit.

The television factual award was won by Fatima Salaria, producer of Blood and Fire, the BBC2 series commemorating the 40th anniversary of Jamaica last year.

Others on the shortlist were Panorama’s report on murdered Peckham schoolboy Damilola Taylor; BBC2’s My Brother The Taliban Fighter, by Christopher Kendall and Sue Lloyd-Roberts and the Channel 4 documentary series on arranged marriages, Marrying a Stranger.

The radio factual award went to BBC Leicester’s Sandra Herbert for her programme on Islam, Myths About Muslims.

An ITN/Libra Television collaboration won the leadership in sport award for the Channel 4 programme First Edition: Racism in Football.

GMTV was named broadcaster of the year over BBC Four and its controller Roly Keating, and Carlton Television.

In the press categories, The Guardian took the national newspaper accolade for Anne Karpf’s article “We’ve been here before”, which challenged the notion of Britain as a country that has always been tolerant toward refugees.

Trinity Mirror’s Coventry Evening Telegraph won the regional and local newspaper award for Paul Barry’s work about asylum seekers in Coventry as part of the paper’s campaign.

Evening Telegraph editor Alan Kirby said: “This is a matter of crucial public interest which will continue to fuel debate and I believe it is the role of newspapers to present balanced and well-informed features on the subject, not to stifle public debate but to encourage it. I am delighted our coverage has been recognised as a positive step in that direction.”

The consumer magazine award went to Time Out for a series of articles on race issues in London, and Personnel Today received the Specialist Magazine award for its Refugees In Employment campaign.

New CRE chairman Trevor Phillips, himself a broadcast journalist, said: “Eleven years after the awards began, there is no doubt ethnic minorities are increasingly better reflected on the front page and the small screen. Our next task is to ensure the industry’s top dogs and decision-makers also mirror the diverse make-up of society.”

Ironically, Muslims invited to the awards ceremony boycotted the event in protest at the CRE’s decision to hold it on a Friday afternoon, coinciding with Muslims’ prayers on what is their holiest day of the week.

The awards, hosted by Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow and Sky News’s Lisa Aziz at London’s Savoy Hotel last Friday, were the 11th since the CRE launched them in 1992 to acknowledge work in the UK media that gives a fair portrayal of issues concerning ethnic minorities and racial diversity.

By Wale Azeez

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