Mikhail Arshynski has been working since 2009 as a video journalist for Belsat, a satellite service based in Poland but accessible in Belarus. He produced the documentary “Don’t be Afraid,” about the Belarusians fighting the dictatorship for fair elections and preventing fraudulent elections in 2020 under the Alexander Lukashenko regime. This documentary aired in May 2021.
During the presidential election campaign, Arshynski followed the candidates from the opposition parties. He covered the Lukashenko regime’s suppression of opposition candidates and obstruction of the election campaign, as well as the protests and activities that Belarusians carried out as they aspired to have a democratic government. Arshynski was arrested by the police while trying to film and broadcast a public protest related to the presidential election. The court sentenced him to 10 days under custody.
The members of the Hinzpeter jury greatly appreciated Arshynski’s activities as a video journalist who has covered and reported on the entire election process for the democratization of Belarusian society. He has done so even as his life and safety have been threathened. His concerns and efforts for democratization, his willingness to risk his own life, and the accusations that the dictatorship rigged the election, are in line with the spirit of Hinzpeter in informing the world about the plight of Gwangju during the democratization in Korea. Thus, the jury members agreed that he deserves to receive the award.
Norman and Collin, the winners of the Award for News, are video journalists from the Yangon bureau of the Singapore-based English news channel CNA (Channel News Asia). On February 27 of this year, during a large-scale demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, they covered the violence of the police indiscriminately firing tear gas and beating and detaining citizens in a video “Myanmar Army Steps Up Enforcement Level”, which was aired around the world on that day.
The video exposes the Myanmar military’s brutal oppression and violence against the citizens to the international community. At the same time, it vividly shows the brave spirit and dedication of the journalists who are willing to film the truth of history and the resistance of the people of Myanmar, who aspire to democracy and the recovery of constitutional order, while not surrendering to threats against their lives. The Selection Committee said that the selection of the winners is not only encouragement to the two journalists for their courageous coverage; it also contains a message of solidarity and support from citizens around the world to Myanmar, where people are fighting for the restoration of democracy against the military dictatorship.
For the Award for Features, the first winner is Bruno Federico from Italy, who has worked as a freelance videographer for PBS in the US and ABC in Australia. He received the 2021 Peabody Award and the 2021 National Headliner Award. He also won the first prize of the Overseas Press Club of America in 2017 and the Robert Spiers Benjamin Award.
Federico captured the arduous and dangerous journey of migrants to reach the United States through Darien Gap, a rugged canyon that connects Colombia in South and Central America and Panama in North and Central America. His video coverage was reported on August 12, 2020 through the US public broadcasting station PBS and its program “PBS News Hour” with the title “Desperate Journey”.
In this video report, Bruno Federico explains why migrants and asylum seekers leave their home countries and embark on such a difficult journey, and the risks and pains they endure to reach a safer and better place, America. In addition, we hope to show that they are the same people as us and have the same hopes for life, challenging the existing prejudice that threatens them and that is aggressive to a stable society. The jury decided to award the prize to Federico not only for the meaning of the video report, but also for the passion and skill that he shows. He has provided vivid, high-quality visuals while traveling with heavy cameras and equipment on such a dangerous and difficult journey.
May Gwangju Award
Young-gil Yu, the late video journalist at the Seoul branch of CBS, has won the May Gwangju Award, which is a non-competitive prize. Yu was the first video journalist who reported on martial law forces being deployed on Geumnam Street, Gwangju, on May 19, 1980. He also contributed to the May 18 Democratic Uprising by covering it for the first time through television news.
The selection committee investigated and verified materials such as an interview with the family and acquaintances of Yu, the situation log of the Gwangju Dong-gu Office on May 19, 1980, news from CBS, foreign media reports at the time of May 18, and domestic and foreign academic documents. Through this process, the selection committee established that Young-gil Yu was the first video journalist who covered and reported on May 18 and the situation on Geumnam Street, Gwangju, on May 19, 1980.
He recorded all these events in color. Thus, the selection committee appraised these visual records as important historical material for remembering May 18, particularly in its truth-finding process. Starting with the May Gwangju Award, while selecting Younggil Yu as the first recipient, the selection committee stated that it hopes to be a beginning point for systematizing and re-illuminating the reports and testimonies of journalists related to the May 18 Democratic Uprising.