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Press Release


 HONG KONG, May 12, 2018 — The Foreign Correspondents’ Club Hong Kong, Amnesty International and the Hong Kong Journalists Association are proud to present the winners of the 2018 Human Rights Press Awards (see Annex), an annual recognition of outstanding journalism in the area of human rights across Asia.


Now in its 22nd year, the Human Rights Press Awards was the first honour of its kind in Asia and remains among the region’s most prestigious professional accolades, celebrating journalism that raises awareness about human rights and highlights threats to freedom. This work is more important than ever as basic freedoms such as movement and expression steadily decline.


Amid various rights crises gripping the region — from the violent persecution of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority, to the rise of religious intolerance among youths in Pakistan and greater South Asia, to the growing reach of Chinese government surveillance — 2018 saw a record 414 entries in both English and Chinese languages, up 28% from last year.


“We are pleased to see that many journalists are working so hard to give a voice to the vulnerable,” said Allan Au, a Hong Kong-based columnist and academic. Au was among more than 20 experts in journalism, law and human rights who judged entries in 17 categories including spot news, features and commentary in text, video, radio and photographic mediums. 


The organising committee welcomes keynote speaker Sonny Swe, publisher of the Yangon-based weekly magazine Frontier Myanmar, who spoke to the challenges and importance of reporting on human rights in Asia. As the co-founder of the Myanmar Times, the country’s only private English-language daily, Sonny was at the vanguard of Myanmar journalism under a repressive military regime, later spending more than eight years as a political prisoner.


“Our fight for freedom of press has always been an uphill battle, and it will continue to be an uphill battle,” Sonny said during an award presentation ceremony at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Hong Kong on May 12. “Freedom of press, freedom of speech, freedom of expression. I will always fight for them because I know – first-hand – how it feels to have your freedom forcibly taken away from you.”


Agence France-Presse, the BBC and the New York Times were recognised for reporting on the Rohingya, a mostly stateless minority subjected to what the U.N. calls a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar military. Standout winners also came from as far afield as Xinjiang, China, where the Wall Street Journal exposed invasive security measures targeting the Uighur Muslim minority and possibly intended for nationwide rollout.


“What's unfolding in Xinjiang matters not just for China, but for the rest of the world because it provides a potential model for governments in how to use technology to tighten their grip on society,” said Clément Bürge, a video journalist for the Journal whose report with colleagues Josh Chin and Giulia Marchi, “Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s surveillance state overwhelms daily life,” won the English-language award for multimedia.


Other notable works were reported here in Hong Kong by Chinese-language outlets including RTHK and Citizen News, elevating underrepresented voices and exploring issues of religious freedom, civil disobedience and more. A total of 238 entries were submitted in Chinese languages, far more than previous years, and included winning works by students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Journalism and Communication.


Ming Pao Weekly’s impressive effort to expose the Hong Kong government’s refugee screening processes won the feature award. The project was “the result of countless 15-minute interviews with refugees in custody,” journalist Cheng Tsz Yu recalled. “I dared not visit them after publication because there is so little I can do to change their fate. ”


Initium Media was recognised for bringing to light a farewell letter from Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobao to his wife, Liu Xia, penned from his deathbed while he was still in Chinese government custody. One judge commended the “rare and moving piece” for emphasizing “the right to freedom and family life by showing how deep and noble a loving relationship is, and by implication, the iniquity of interfering with it.”


Annie Zhang, of Initium, said her intention was to “let the public see and remember Liu Xiaobao, not as a body that gradually lost its life as shown in the government broadcast, or a faceless symbol in Chinese history; but as a human being with dignity, beauty and love.”


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Text & Print – Spot News (English)


Unwanted in Myanmar, unwelcome in Bangladesh

Sam Jahan, Nick Perry, Redwan Ahmed and Claire Cozens of AFP



Chinese billionaire abducted from Hong Kong

Ben Bland, Jamil Anderlini, Gloria Cheung and Lucy Hornby of Financial Times


Blood flowed in the streets: Refugees from one Rohingya hamlet recount days of horror


Everyone has parents but us

Annie Gowen of The Washington Post


Text & Print - Features (English)


This is what a 21st century surveillance state looks like

Megha Rajagopalan of BuzzFeed News



China's Uighurs

Gerry Shih of The Associated Press


Myanmar's army is tormenting Muslims with a brutal rape campaign

Patrick Winn and Muktadir Rashid of Public Radio International


Text & Print - Commentary (English)


Cambodia's Crackdown: What happens when an autocrat shutters a newspaper

Julia Wallace of The Nation




A deepening crisis

The value of a life


Repatriation not enough

Oliver Slow and Thomas Kean of Frontier Myanmar


Thailand's monarchy: where does love end and dread begin?

Michael Peel of Financial Times


Multimedia (English)


Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s surveillance state overwhelms daily life

Josh Chin, Clément Bürge and Giulia Marchi of The Wall Street Journal



Confiscation crusaders try to save Philippine paradise

Karl Malakunas of AFP


Television & Video (English)


Murder on campus

Secunder Kermani of BBC News, “Our World” 



101 East: The Rohingya exodus

Drew Ambrose of Al Jazeera English


The Kill List

Aurora Almendral and Ed Ou of NBC Left Field


Radio & Audio (English)


How the United Nations in Myanmar failed the Rohingya

Jonah Fisher of BBC News


Text & Print – Spot News (Chinese)


Exclusive: Liu Xiaobo’s final gift to wife Liu Xia – his last manuscript fully revealed

Annie Zhang of Initium Media



[HK01 survey] Scholars shocked to find 33% primary school SEN students victims of bullying

Liu Kit Yin of HK01


Li Wangling speaks out five years after activist Li Wangyang’s death

Lin Ying of Ming Pao



Text & Print - Features (Chinese)


The invisible wall: Hong Kong’s refugees

Cheng Tsz Yu of Ming Pao Weekly



Lamentations of the homeless: The people without a place to be

Kim Chan Ping Ting of The News Lens


Covered wounds: Youth face sexual abuse in resettlement homes

Chien Yung Ta of The Reporter



Text & Print - Commentary (Chinese)


In the name of national security

To Yiu Ming of Ming Pao



European Journalist of the Year Can Dündar: A lifelong pursuit for truth

Chinghua Tsai of Opinions@CommonWealth


Joint checkpoints: How they are done under British and French law

Alvin Lum of CitizenNews



Multimedia (Chinese)


Legal Records of Civil Disobedience

Ng Yuen Ying of CitizenNews



Data visualized: The impact of Beijing’s eviction of the ‘low-end population’

Danielle Wang, Victoria Jin and Xu Xiaotong of Initium Media


One year into the Philippines’ war on drugs

Gary Lo of HK01


Television & Video (Chinese)


Sunday Report: Liu Xiaobo

Choi Chin Hung, Kris, Chiu Chun Ting and Diana Lin of Television Broadcasts Limited



The Redress

Wong Wai Yu, Jovy of Hong Kong i-CABLE News, China Desk


The investment of sweat and blood

Cheng Sze Sze of Hong Kong Connection, RTHK


Radio & Audio (Chinese)


Mainland to tighten grip on protestant churches

Emily Chan Miu Ling of RTHK



Keeping the faith – Xu Zhiyong’s first interview after his release from prison

Lam Hon Shan of RTHK


“Miss You”— the second anniversary of the 709 incident

Lam Hon Shan of RTHK





Photography - Spot News


Staring at Death

Indranil Mukherjee of AFP



Inside and outside the police car

Kyle Lam of HK01


Photography - Features


Rohingya Crisis

Tomas Munita of The New York Times



Jade Mining in Myanmar

Adam Dean of TIME Magazine


Exchange health for economic miracle: Story of Samsung workers with cancer

Li Chak Tung of HK01


People’s Choice Photo Award


Unwanted in Myanmar, unwelcome in Bangladesh

Fred Dufour of AFP



Tertiary - Text (Chinese)


Elegy of the iPhone: Unions and management conspire against workers

He Ji Shu, Ko Chung Lai and Lo Wai Ting of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK



28th Anniversary series for the June 4 Tiananmen Square massacre

Chong Hiu Tung of CitizenNews


Popularising teaching in sign language: Let deaf students understand

Mok Wing Tung and Lui Wing Yiu of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK



Tertiary – Radio, Television & Video (Chinese)


Students stand in solidarity with the workers

Lam Sum Yi, Hui Lee Ha, Chan Tsz Ki and Liu Dicksa Isabelle of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK



Growing up with homosexual parents

LEE Tsz Ying and Lau Tsz Lam of Broadcast News Network, HKBU


The plight of the cleaners

Chan On Ki, Lam Oi Yee, Leung Yuk Man, Mak Tsun Ho and Mok Wing Tung of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK


Tertiary - Text (English)


Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Fiona Chan, Angela Siu, Kristy Tong, Doris Yu, Crystal Wu, Elaine Ng, Marilyn Ma, Grace Liyang and Chloe Kwan of Varsity, CUHK

12/05/2018 05:35   updated more
Previous: Candle in the wind – National Security law looms over diminishing freedoms
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