7 December 2006

Investigation into war crimes fiasco wins Human Rights Print Media Award


Painstaking research that uncovered startling lapses in Australia"s treatment of suspected war criminals and led to one man being released from Sydney"s Villawood Detention Centre, has won this year"s Human Rights Print Media Award.

Australia"s War Crimes Fiasco by Sydney Morning Herald journalists Debra Jopson and Lisa Pryor, shocked readers by revealing that dozens of men suspected of horrific atrocities overseas were living freely in Australia courtesy of loopholes in the asylum seeker system - the very system set-up to protect the human rights of their victims.

The story generated a massive political and media response and was applauded by the judges for being a "terrific subject" explored by journalists with the highest level of investigative skills.
Two entries were highly commended this year including The Murder Capital of Australia by The Age"s Russell Skelton, which spotlighted the high levels of sexual and physical violence and death occurring in town camps around Alice Springs.

Described by the judges as "beautifully written, detailed and unflinching," the series of articles sets Alice Springs" rich Indigenous culture against a frightening backdrop of violence and helped ignite national debate on Indigenous violence.

Also highly commended was Nick Walshaw"s A Life Worth Living published in Rugby League Week.

This inspirational story of Aboriginal rugby league player and coach Chris Binge"s success in breaking the cycle of violence and abuse in his family and community, was found by the judges to stand head and shoulders above other media coverage of violence and abuse in Indigenous communities in terms of its balance and sensitivity.

The prestigious Human Rights Medal was also presented at the ceremony, along with awards for Law (sponsored by the Law Council of Australia), Community, Arts Non-Fiction, Television and Radio. For full details: www.humanrights.gov.au/hr_awards/

Media contact: Louise McDermott 02 9284 9851 or 0419 258 597



Last updated March 27, 2009