2022 Hinzpeter Awards Winners

 

‘The World at a Crossroads’ Award

Philip Cox

"The Spider-Man of Sudan"

Philip Cox, winner of the grand prize, The World at a Crossroads Award, is a British freelance video journalist who was working in Khartoum, the capital of the Republic of the Sudan, in October 2021 when a military coup took place. The citizens of Sudan ousted Omar al-Bashir, a dictator for 30 years, in a revolution in April 2019. While civilians and the military were preparing for the establishment of democratic rule by forming a joint transitional government, a military coup occurred. Sudan’s citizens protested against it and began to hold large-scale demonstrations demanding the return of democratic and civilian rule.

One day, as the military crackdown intensified to quell civil resistance across the country, an anonymous demonstrator dressed as Spiderman appeared in the center of the protests. He became famous on social media for jumping off billboards, dodging tear gas, and climbing buildings, becoming a symbol of civil resistance.

Jury members found that Cox showed the aspiration and will of Sudanese citizens to restore democracy and create a better country through the story of the Spider-Man, who resists the military coup. In addition, the jury found that the video showing the dangers of the protests was vivid, while the visual aesthetics through various devices drew the story impressively. The creative storytelling had a significant quality, the jury stated.

Award for News

Takuya Watanabe

"Afghanistan, Now"

Takuya Watanabe joined TBS Japan in 2016 as a video journalist and has been working as a correspondent in the London office since 2021. In August 2021, he and his team interviewed Taliban spokesperson Muhammad Suhail Shaheen in person, for the first time in Japanese media, just before the U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan. Three months later, in November, he visited Kabul, the capital city, where the Taliban had begun to rule again, and Bamiyan, where the world’s largest stone Buddha was destroyed during the Taliban’s rule 20 years ago. He captured the condition of the Afghan people, living in poverty and amid food shortages.

The jury members found that Watanabe’s work was valuable to viewers, who could not access in-depth coverage of the changes in Afghanistan and the international community’s questions about the Taliban in a chaotic situation as U.S. troops withdrew and the Taliban regained power. In particular, the jury found that Watanabe had provided information to predict the changes in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of U.S. troops through an interview with the Taliban spokesperson. He reported on how Afghan society and people’s lives have changed since the Taliban came to power. His reporting has aroused humanitarian interest from the international community, particularly by covering the miserable livelihood of the country’s citizens, with as many as one million people expected to die from starvation due to food shortages.

The jury members mentioned that the journalist took personal risks despite the unstable political situation in Afghanistan and applauded the courage of Watanabe’s team. Their coverage of the issue of political freedom for Afghan citizens and of cultural heritage in the Bamiyan region displayed great effort to realize democracy, human rights, and peace. Thus, Takuya Watanabe was selected to receive this year’s Award for News, the jury added.

Award for Features

Chea-wan Yun, In-tae Jun, Dong-yeol Kim

"68 Days on the Frontline"

On February 24, the Ukraine War broke out following Russia’s invasion. When the war started, South Korean independent journalist Cheawan Yun ran to the frontline at Donetsk to document the horrors of the war. The Passport Act of South Korea has been criticized by journalists around the world for violating the freedom of the press. It imposes legal punishment if one enters a travel-banned country to report without prior permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Expecting prosecution and punishment for violations of the Passport Act, Yun’s coverage of the war displayed his determination as a journalist to face reality and report the truth of history. He spent 68 days in the Ukraine war, and his coverage was not about a war seen “from above,” focusing on political and diplomatic rhetoric and calculation, but “from below,” with the story of ordinary people struggling at the crossroads of life and death. A journalist who remembers the horrific civil war that took place in his country 72 years ago, he conveyed the desperate plea for peace from Ukrainian citizens and the pain of losing everything in the war on streets full of fire, or in underground shelters, hiding from the shelling. The message is, “Please stop this tragedy!”

Producers Intae Jun and Dongyeol Kim from KBS, a public broadcasting outlet in Korea, paid attention to the risk to life that Yun faced and the voices of Ukrainian citizens that he covered, longing for survival and peace. After 100 days of war in Ukraine, KBS broadcast a special documentary about the war that was not captured by domestic and foreign media and was not reported in the propaganda between Russia and Ukraine.

Jury members said that “68 Days on the Frontline” tells the story of people who have lost everything during the war, but who try to overcome their great pain together, their voices of hope and for peace conveyed in their ruined reality. This documentary demonstrates the values of democracy, human rights, and peace that the Hinzpeter Awards pursues. The jury particularly praised Yun’s courage and hard work. He risked his life and faced the prospect of being punished under the Korean Passport Act, all to document the horrors of the war.

MAY GWANGJU Award

The Late Shireen Abu Akleh, Majdi Bannoura

The late Shireen Abu Akleh, since 1997 a Palestinian reporter for Al Jazeera, an Arab broadcasting channel, had presented in-depth coverage of issues between Palestine and Israel for the past 25 years. BBC called Akleh the "most prominent veteran among Arab journalists." She reported on the second Intifada Resistance Movement in 2000, the attack on the Jenin Refugee Camp in 2002, and the long-term Palestinian prisoners in Shikma Prison in 2005. The late Akleh was killed by Israel Defense Forces.

Majdi Bannoura joined Al Jazeera as a video journalist in the same year as Akleh. They worked together as field reporters for 24 years. Bannoura has been recording the Israeli military’s oppression of human rights and violence against the Palestinian people and their resistance movement. Bennoura, who was covering the Israeli invasion of Ramallah in 2018 and the Palestinian protests against it, was wounded by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces. At that time, Arab media organizations and international human rights groups who heard the news of the incident released a protest statement stating that “Israeli authorities must guarantee the freedom and safety of journalists.” They demanded measures to prevent a recurrence.

Journalists such as the late Akleh and video journalist Bannoura risk their lives to fulfill their mission as journalists and to tell the truth in the fields of democracy, human rights, and peace around the world. They fight the tyranny that threatens the freedom of the press. To commemorate, encourage, and support such journalists from all over the world who carry their cameras and microphones despite shock and pain, the jury selected the late Shireen Abu Akleh and Madji Bannoura as recipients of the May Gwangju Award.