Guardian reporter wins prize

Guardian journalist Andrew Meldrum has won the Kurt Schork prize for international journalism for his coverage of Robert Mugabe’s oppressive regime in Zimbabwe.

Judges said Meldrum was “a reporter of remarkable courage, commitment and lucidity”.

His most rewarding experiences were meeting people who were unbowed in the face of adversity.

“I went to a hospital room to interview a victim of torture by the army,” he recalled. “Her face and body disfigured by the horrific beatings, she sat up in bed when I came in the room and said, ‘Meldrum, I am glad you came. Take down my name. I want you to tell the world what happened to me.’ In the face of such spirit and courage, I could not possibly back down to the Mugabe Government.”

The Kurt Schork awards, presented by Colombia University in New York, honour the freelance journalist who was killed in 2000 during an ambush in Sierra Leone while on assignment for Reuters.

They recognise freelance reporting that sheds new light on controversial issues, including conflicts, human rights or cross-border issues in a particular country or region.

Now based in South Africa, Meldrum has written a book, Where We Have Hope, chronicling his 23 years fighting for a free press in Zimbabwe.

Meldrum shares the prize with Liviu Avram, an investigative reporter for Romanian newspaper Adevarul.

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