Kidnapped reporter Alan Johnston is named broadcaster of the year

Kidnapped BBC Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston was today named broadcast journalist of the year at the London Press Awards.

Now in his 59th day in captivity, the Scottish broadcaster was nominated for the prize in recognition of his “outstanding journalism” before he was taken hostage by an unknown group in Gaza City on 12 March.

BBC director-general Mark Thompson, who accepted the award on Johnston’s behalf, said: “Alan stayed there [Gaza] so long, and stayed after so many Western correspondents had left, because he wanted to tell the story of Gaza and to tell it not from a studio in London or by voicing over pictures taken by an agency or freelance thousands of miles away, but on the ground and among the people of Gaza.”

He said Johnston reported with “humanity, objectivity and impartiality” and that the corporation was “saddened” that he has had to pay such a high price.

Johnston beat Martin Brunt of Sky News and Dorothy Byrne of Channel 4 News to the award, judged by 11 senior figures from the industry.

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