Burma took top billing last night at the Amnesty Media Awards in London, UK – we were invited to the awards show joining up with friends and colleagues from Democratic Voice of Burma (many thanks to Verity at Amnesty for the invites). It was a great night made better still by a double win for Burma as ‘Burma VJ‘ added to its wardrobe of awards by winning in the category of ‘Television and Docudrama’. There was also a ‘Special Media Award’ which was presented to the collective independent media of Burma. Daw Nita Yin Yin May, herself a former political prisoner collected the special award on behalf of all the journalists inside Burma “I am indeed very much honoured to take part in the Amnesty International Media Awards Ceremony and to collect this award on behalf of all of my colleagues. Without the information they are able to get from independent journalists, people in Burma would not know the real state of affairs”. Amnesty Director Kate Allen introduced the special award saying “Journalism is all too often a perilous pursuit and perceived as a threat by authorities. Independent journalism is very important for the people of Burma, both as an avenue in which to express their opinions, but also as a vital source of information. Independent news on the upcoming elections process is vital in keeping the world’s attention focused on Burma in what is going to be a critical year”. A short 5 minute film followed highlighting the dangers of working and reporting from inside Burma.
It was a great night to celebrate the awards but also there was time to highlight the dangers of working in Burma and the appalling current situation the country faces – the awards were attended by hundreds of the biggest names in UK media with regards to human rights so hopefully they left with some serious food for thought by Burma’s moment back in the spotlight. A moment to reflect on the 41 journalists and media activists currently detained. You can read a round- up article here at The Irrawaddy.
We met up with many of the Amnesty team afterwards and partied on till late. I had a chance to chat with Director of Amnesty, Kate Allen, afterwards about the challenges we are facing this year working inside Burma and what we can expect with the increase in oppression against journalists and ordinary civilians across the country and a more than likely increase in political prisoners as we approach election day. She re-iterated Amnesty’s involvement in Burma for this year with plans of global campaigning and advocacy work right up to the highest level of world governments. Good news all round and on a personal note for my work with Burma’s political prisoners even better news to follow…
For a full list of the winners please visit the Amnesty Website.
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