Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bloggers and Journalists gather for the Annual International Media Awards at the London Athenaeum, Monday 11th May 2009.

Journalists and Bloggers from the across the Middle East and the West gathered on Monday evening for the 5th International Media Awards ceremony hosted by Lord Stone of Blackheath. The awards were founded by The Next Century Foundation which works principally to support peace initiatives across the Middle East. This year the Awards also included a category for bloggers to acknowledge the growing influence of the blogosphere on the reporting of events.

The Next Century Foundation established the awards in 2005 to publically recognise journalists whose work has contributed to a better understanding of conflict zones, in particular the Arab/Israeli conflict, and of the Middle East region as a whole. The awards recognise the work of journalists whose high standards of analysis and reporting have helped to break down barriers and promote understanding. They also recognise the efforts and courage of individual journalists and bloggers, who are often placed at risk when reporting stories from areas of conflict or political repression.
The categories were as follows:

Four Peace through Media Awards. Each winner received an olive tree for their individual outstanding contribution to understanding.
  • Dr Badrakan Al-Sindi, Editor in chief of Al-Ta’akhi Newspaper ( Iraq )
  • Mark Urban, Diplomatic Editor, Newsnight, BBC.
  • Mick Fealty, Editor and writer of Slugger O’Toole Blog ( Ireland )
  • Paul Staines, aka Blogger Guido Fawkes.

Two Peace Through Media Lifetime Achievement Awards.

  • Khaled Kishtainy, Iraqi journalist of Sharq Al Awsat newspaper.
  • Kamran Karadaghi, Iraqi journalist of Al Hayat newspaper.

Four Cutting Edge Awards. Each winner received a £1000 cash prize for their oustanding coverage of events in the Middle East .

  • Oren Yakobovich of Israel's B'Tselem's "Shooting Back" programme.
  • Shlomo Eldar of Israel's Channel 10 whose live broadcast many believe contributed to the end of Israel’s recent Gaza campaign.
  • Faisal Abbas Saudi Arabian journalist of Sharq al Awsat and blogger for the Huffington Post.
  • Jaafar al Ahmar Lebanese journalist of Al Hayat.

Two Breakaway Awards for most promising new talent.

  • Abdulrahman Abdulla, Al Sharqiya Satellite TV.
  • Potkin Azarmehr, Blogger for a secular democratic Iran .

It is with much regret, and for a second year running, that several award winners were unable to attend and receive their awards due to border closures. Four winners, all of whom were based in Gaza, received accolades for their work. It is hoped that next year they will be able to pick up their awards in person.

The awards are given by The International Council for Press and Broadcasting part of the Next Century Foundation. It has worked in cooperation with the International Communications Forum, St Brides Forum, and The Department of Journalism at City University.

The Award Patrons: The Patrons of the International Media Awards this year were: Mr Ribal Al Assad of ANN Satellite TV; Ms Dalia Salaam Rishani of Hood Hood Books; Mr Walid Issa Taha of Taha Associates in Baghdad ; Ms Annie Henschal of Olives et al.

For further information contact Ms Deborah Pout, the convenor of the awards ceremony, on d.pout@btinternet.com

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