Human-touch stories about civilian deaths and children’s rights in armed conflict won the judges’ nod in the first Red Cross Award for Humanitarian Reporting.

Inquirer Mindanao bureau correspondent Frinston Lim took the top spot in the print category for his article “Women grieve over landmine deaths” while Marya Salamat of Bulatlat.com won first place in the online category  for “Child rights advocates bewail distortion of child protection principles for counter-insurgency.”

The winners of the Red Cross Award for Humanitarian Reporting—the first media contest held by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Philippine Red Cross (PRC)—were revealed in an awarding ceremony on 7 May at Richmonde Hotel, Ortigas, Pasig City.

Red Cross officials Christoph Sutter, ICRC deputy head of delegation to the Philippines; Richard Gordon, PRC chairman; and Gwendolyn Pang, PRC secretary general, handed trophies to the winners who include: For print: Stella Estremera of Sun.Star Davao (second place) for “New legs, new life”; Fernando del Mundo of Philippine Daily Inquirer (third place) for the three-part series “New Centurions”; for online: Ina Alleco Silverio of Bulatlat.com (second place) for “Child soldiers or victims?”; and Andreo Calonzo of Gmanews.tv (third place) for “A year after Ampatuan massacre, local journalists struggle to stay safe.”

Special awards were also given to Ed Lingao of Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, for “Maguindanao, isang taon” (TV documentary); Marga Ortigas of Al Jazeera for “Splinter group seen as threat to peace” (TV news); and Malu Manar of DXND-NDBC for “The armed conflict in Kabacan, North Cotabato” (radio).

“Lim’s story provided a deeper look into the deaths of three civilians through a landmine explosion in Compostela Valley, while Salamat’s article delved into the protection of children, especially those accused of being combatants. Both stories gave analysis and a human face to the armed conflict situation in the Philippines,” said Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC’s communication coordinator.

Around 23 finalists competed in the Red Cross Award, which was launched on 12 August 2010 in celebration of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) day. The competition aims to promote responsible reporting of conflict situations by highlighting the plight of those affected by it.

A panel of 15 judges (five per category) hail from the ICRC, PRC, and partner-organizations International News Safety Institute, Peace and Conflict Journalism Network, Philippine Association of Communication Educators, and Rotary Club of Manila.

Guest judges include veteran journalists Vergel Santos of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility; and Rey Hulog, executive director of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas.

Entries were screened on focus and date of coverage, after which the finalists were adjudged based on: evidence of research (30 percent); sourcing (20 percent); coherence/ organization (20 percent); style and presentation (15 percent); and conflict-sensitive reporting (15 percent. Aside from the awards ceremony, a program starting at 9 a.m. focused on the challenges of conflict reporting, and how best to address them.

Invited speakers were Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer, on the current situation of Philippine media coverage of conflict situations; Antonio Cruz, president of Bloggers’ Association, on the role of new media in contemporary conflicts; and Agence France Presse correspondent Jason Gutierrez, on his experience in covering war and other situations of violence.

“The media’s voice should be heard in favour of proper and responsible behaviour in wars. We hope that the number journalists who are interested in humanitarian analysis of conflicts continue to grow, and that the second award will receive more entries and support across the Philippines,” said Anastasia Isyuk, ICRC’s communication coordinator.

For further information, please contact: Allison Lopez, ICRC Manila, tel +63 908-8686884

Share →