Regional Press Awards: Free entry for Children's Society Award

Journalism that can make a huge difference to the lives of vulnerable children is being recognised in a new category at this year’s Press Gazette Regional Press Awards.

The Children’s Society Award is free to enter and recognises “excellence in reporting on asylum and refugee issues”.

The award is part of the Society’s Young Refugees Media Project which has involved hundreds of child asylum seekers in activities aimed at challenging the way journalists report and comment on refugee issues.

Henry Katende, 19, from Uganda has been involved with the Children’s Society project since 2006. He explained to Press Gazette why the way journalists cover refugee issues is so important to him.

He said: “Before I joined this project I didn’t want to be classified as a refugee. When I started at a school in the UK people used to bully me over coming from a different country and being an asylum seeker.

“The children must either hear it from their parents or on the news – and what they hear are negative things.”

Henry said that he believes reporting of asylum and refugee issues would be improved if journalists wrote more about the link between asylum and international events.

“If there is a war about diamonds or gold or whatever, those diamonds are not being bought by the people involved in that situation – they are being bought by people over here.”

Henry said stories such as the erroneous reports that asylum seekers were eating swans made life more difficult for people like himself.

“People hardly see any positive stories about refugees and asylum seekers – they just think people are here to take their money.

“It’s difficult enough to be here by yourself and to have left your home and your friends behind. You’re just here to try to create something good for yourself.

“These sort stories don’t help you as a person – they make your life hell.”

The Children’s Society Award will be annouced with the rest of the Press Gazette Regional Press Awards on 8 May at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square.

The entry deadline has been extended and now expires on Thursday, 16 April.

The judges are looking for balanced, well informed stories that demonstrate a clear understanding of the issues that face asylum seekers and refugees in the UK.

To enter, email three examples of your work [internet link or PDF], plus a supporting statement which can be written by you or your editor, to Alex Pont – apont@wilmington.co.uk.

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