Samura's 'child sex for aid' film wins Amnesty award

Amnesty media awards: category winner Samura

A shocking report on refugee children exploited for sex by aid workers in West Africa won Channel 4 News the TV news prize at this year’s Amnesty International UK Media Awards.

The item, Guinea: Sex for food, by Insight News Television’s award-winning reporter Sorious Samura, investigated the shocking disclosure by UNHCR that aid workers were demanding sex from refugee children in return for aid.

Channel 4 News deputy editor Martin Fewell said: “We’re delighted that Sorious’s report has been given this recognition. It demonstrates the value of Channel 4 News’s links with the independent production sector, and the varied and unexpected reports these produce.” The TV documentaries award went to BBC One Panorama reporter John Ware for A Licence To Murder, a two-part investigation into the degree to which the British intelligence services co-ordinated loyalist death squads in Northern Ireland between 1985 and 1990. The Panorama special was the result of 13 years of research by Ware.

Andrew Gilligan, defence and diplomatic correspondent for BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, won the radio award for his report on the sale of illegal landmines.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen commended the range of entries year, saying that “at a time when the international focus on Iraq has sometimes seen other human rights abuses go unreported, the role of journalists in exposing abuses has never been more critical”.

She added that the dangers, threats and casualties experienced by journalists this year “reminds us just how much they put their own lives on the line in order to highlight the facts and influence change”.

In the print media, Hala Jaber of The Sunday Times won the national newspaper award for a series, including one about the world of a Palestinian suicide bomber.

Gideon Mendel, who recently signed with the Corbis photo agency, won the photojournalism award for Looking Aids in the Face, featured in The Guardian Weekend magazine.

Ann McFerran won the periodicals prize for her Times Magazine piece Land of the Damned.

The Big Issue in Scotland took the Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales award for a series of articles on refugees and asylum seekers, by Alexander Robertson, Sam Bartlett and Liam McDougall.

Veteran broadcast journalist Charles Wheeler hosted the awards ceremony.

lAn annual award in memory of Gaby Rado, the Channel 4 News correspondent who died in Iraq, will be presented by Amnesty to a talented young journalist working on human rights stories. Following the announcement at the ceremony, Channel 4 News anchor Jon Snow presented the first Gaby Rado Memorial Award to the late reporter’s son, Tom, on behalf of Gaby’s mother, his wife Dessa and members of his family who were present at the ceremony. Rado was a three-time winner of the Amnesty TV news award, and was nominated again this year.

By Wale Azeez

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