"Remarkable frontline reporting" saw Matt Frei of Channel 4 News named broadcast journalist of the year last night at the RTS Awards for television journalism.
The judges gave a special award to the three Al Jazeera journalists held by Egypt, Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Greste attended the London dinner to accept the award in person.
ITV's News at Ten was named daily news programme of the year and Sky News was named news channel of the year. ITV News at Ten's Mark Austin was presenter of the year for the second year running.
Accepting the special award, Greste said: "I'd be willing to bet this award that journalists have never united around a single common cause in the way that they have ours. I know how important it has been.
"For us, in prison of course we knew a bit about it. We were aware of some of the demonstrations; we'd heard about the zip-the-lips campaign and the letters.
"At the personal level, it was hugely empowering. It helped put rods of steel into our spines, because we came to understand that this was about something far bigger than the three of us alone. It was about the universal principles of freedom of expression, about the public's right to know. And we knew you were right there with us."
Full list of winners for 2015 RTS Awards for television journalism:
Camera Operator of the Year
Andriy Perun Reuters
“The winner’s coverage of the crisis in Ukraine was courageous, powerful, and terrifying. Beautifully framed shots were mixed with scenes of extraordinary drama, filmed deep in the thick of the fighting. This was a close-up and exceptionally brave account of one of the year’s most important stories.”
Todd Baxter CNN International
Nik Millard BBC News
Current Affairs – Home
Panorama – Britain's Secret Terror Force twenty2vision for BBC One
“This impeccable forensic investigation uncovered a story never-before-told of a secret military unit operating outside normal rules of engagement on the streets of Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles. Reporter John Ware and the production team, in a compelling programme, told the story for the first time and persuaded three former MRF men to speak on camera. These unresolved killings of unarmed civilians, as well as known IRA men, still resonate 40 years on and has led to the ordering of new inquests in two of the cases featured.”
Dispatches – Breadline Kids True Vision for Channel 4
The Gypsy Matchmaker Minnow Films for Channel 4
Current Affairs – International
Dispatches – Children on the Frontline ITN Productions for Channel 4
“The idea of exploring the war in Syria – the conflict of the moment – through the eyes of children was brilliant and the resulting film was extremely moving.”
This World – Terror at the Mall Amos Pictures for BBC Two
Al Jazeera Investigates – Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787 Al Jazeera English
Daily News Programme of the Year
ITV News at Ten
“The winning entry was described by the jury as extraordinarily strong. Exemplary foreign coverage, a range of reporters – in turns heavyweight, warm, literate, likeable but above all trustworthy, and always well told. It was a really outstanding entry.”
Channel 4 News
Nations and Regions Current Affairs
Who Murdered Maxine? BBC West Midlands
“This winning programme brought back the horror of the Birmingham pub bombings from a very different perspective. Beautifully shot and paced, it contained some moving and revealing interviews and detailed one family's determination with finding out who really killed their sister.”
Week In Week Out – Cardiff to Syria: Journey to Jihad BBC Wales
Spotlight – A Woman Alone With The IRA BBC Northern Ireland
Nations and Regions News
BBC South East Today
“Original, brave and hard hitting reports from a small news team with great use of technology and social media. Colin Campbell's investigations into cross channel migration and fly tipping were exceptional. Regional news at its very best.”
ITV News West Country (West)
Calendar – Tour de France Grand Depart ITV Yorkshire
Network Presenter of the Year
Mark Austin ITV News at Ten
“Our winner is a brilliant presenter from location, where he gets to the heart of a story and becomes involved as a reporter as well as delivering the news in his customary authoritative style. The judges were impressed by his anchoring from the Middle East, and also by his powerful and sensitive interview with Bob Geldof. In the field and in the studio, the winner is second to none and deserves to retain his title!”
Julie Etchingham ITV News at Ten
Emily Maitlis Newsnight
News Channel of the Year
“The judges believed all nominated channels deserved recognition for strong performance in an exceptionally busy and difficult year of news. However, the winning entry stood out for the range of coverage, for hitting some of the year’s big issues early and in-depth, and for the energy and innovation evident in its approach to major events.”
BBC News Channel
News Coverage – Home
Jihadi Terror ITV News
“The winning entry took viewers right to the heart of the story and brought home what a domestic story this really is.”
Independence Referendum Channel 4 News
Floods Sky News
News Coverage – International
Ukraine ITV News
“This was journalistic enterprise at its best. Comprehensive, insightful and dramatic. A commitment to the story resulted in extraordinary moments on camera and more than one scoop. James Mates in particular was singled out for being constantly ahead of the game in covering the unfolding story of Ukraine, with the result that viewers were taken through events in real time on all sides of the conflict.”
Gaza BBC News
Iraq Crisis ITV News
A Cloud over Copacabana – BBC's World Cup Data Network BBC News
“A hugely impressive technological achievement which made a big difference on screen. The boffins at the BBC created a mesh network – in effect a private wi-fi cloud – over Copacabana, enabling the corporation to provide its reporters with rock-solid live reporting capability, not only along the entirety of the 4 kilometer beach, but from the top of the Sugar Loaf mountain as well.”
Stand Up Be Counted Sky News
Drone Camera – Tacloban CNN International
Regional Presenter of the Year
Harry Gration MBE BBC Look North
“Our winner is a Yorkshire institution, and in the past year he showed he remains on top form. His emotional involvement with Yorkshire’s biggest moments – notably Le Tour de France – really connects with viewers; but he is also trusted by his audience on major news stories such as the tragic murder of a Leeds schoolteacher. His range and his authority are admirable.”
Ian Axton ITV News West Country
Polly Evans BBC South East Today
Scoop of the Year
Spotlight – A Woman Alone With The IRA BBC Northern Ireland
“The Scoop award recognises exclusive, original journalism that makes a wide impact. The winning entry made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic and has triggered parliamentary and governmental action. At the heart of it was one woman waiving her right to anonymity to do what virtually no republican ever does on camera, speak out against the IRA.”
Cliff Richard Raid BBC News
Panorama – The Fake Sheikh Exposed BBC Current Affairs
Specialist Journalist of the Year
Alison Holt BBC News
“Our winner consistently delivered stories which were agenda-setting, policy shifting and politically important – while treating people at the heart of the stories with patience, knowledge and understanding.”
James Mates ITV News
Fergus Walsh BBC News
Television Journalist of the Year
Matt Frei Channel 4 News
“The work of the Television Journalist of the Year demonstrated the absolute value of being on the scene of major stories as they unfolded, close to the action, but with the composure and eloquence to convey a complete picture to viewers. The winning entry combined remarkable frontline reporting with fine writing and a real sense of humanity, as well as a light touch at just the right moment.”
Lyse Doucet BBC News
James Mates ITV News
The Independent Award
Bruce Lee, King of the Sewers Ecostorm for Channel 4 News
“The jury thought this film told an absolutely compelling story and exposed a horrible reality. It took many months to set up, and although other journalists have tried before to tell the story of the weird world of the men, women and children living in the sewers of Bucharest, this was a quite remarkable film with brilliant pictures and great storytelling.”
The Minova Rape Trial Studio 9 Films for Newsnight
Unreported World: The Invisible People Quicksilver Media for Channel 4
Young Talent of the Year
Mstyslav Chernov APTN
“His pictures ‘sizzled’ – with a visual narrative which took you right to the heart of the story.”
Dan Ashby ITV News Tyne Tees
Fatima Manji Channel 4 News
Lifetime Achievement Award
“This year the Society honours the work of specialist journalists through one science journalist who has practised his craft for over 40 years. He began in academic publishing, moved to New Scientist Magazine, before venturing into broadcasting. He has won awards from the broadcasting industry and the science and medical communities. The hallmark of his work has been communicating often complex subjects in a way that will engage and inform audiences. He retired from full-time work last year but already has been tempted back onto the airwaves.”
Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed
"Over the years this [the Judges' Award] has gone to individuals and sometimes to groups of individuals. I think I am right in saying that this is the first time that the judges have sat down and decided to choose a group of individuals who were, at the time, in prison. Having made that decision our main task was how to let them know that they had won.
"Since then events have moved on, but only so far.
"In December 2013 three journalists from Al Jazeera English were arrested and charged with spreading false news and collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood after the overthrow of President Mohammed Morsi. They were sentenced to between seven and 10 years in prison. Whatever dispute the Egyptian Government may have had with the Qatari owners of Al Jazeera and its channel aimed at Egypt, the evidence on the terrorist charges against the three Al Jazeera English staff was – in the eyes of independent experts – non-existent.
"Peter Greste had barely arrived in Cairo from his normal base in Nairobi when he was arrested. An Australian citizen, he had previously spent a decade working for the BBC.
"Mohamed Fahmy was a senior producer working for Al Jazeera English in Cairo. He'd worked for the New York Times and CNN.
"Baher Mohamed is an Egyptian journalist who'd worked for various news organisations before joining Al Jazeera English earlier in 2013.
"The campaign for the release of three men jailed simply for covering the news was led by AJE colleagues like Sue Turton. She was convicted in absentia with five other Aljazeera journalists of the same charges. In prison, Peter Greste wrote 'How do you accurately and fairly report on Egypt's ongoing political struggle without talking to everyone involved?'
"The international news community, especially the broadcast news business here in Britain, understood the importance of that principle.
"There was global support of the campaign but, in truth, for many months there was little sign of concrete progress. There were many disappointments but the campaign went on.
"Then on the first of this month, after 400 days in jail, Peter Greste was allowed to leave prison for Australia. Last week Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were released on bail. Their retrial resumes next Monday.
"Tonight the RTS recognises the three 'brothers' as Peter has called them. The released one and two on bail.
"Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Men who conducted themselves with enormous dignity and courage in the face of continued uncertainty about their fate. And we also recognise the commitment of the people who have campaigned and continue to campaign for the release of the two on bail. Under the terms of that bail we are unable to present the two men with their Awards but we will when they are finally released."