Rory Peck Awards honour bravery of freelance reporters


By Mei-Ling McNamara

tim-hethering1Senior figures from television news last week observed two minutes of silence to commemorate more than 100 freelance journalists killed in the line of duty.

The occasion was the annual Rory Peck awards, organised to recognise outstanding freelance television news journalism.

Among the award winning entries at this year’s ceremony was an undercover investigation into Hamas, an expose of the aftereffects of cyclone Nargis on rural Burma, and harrowing footage of police brutality in Kenya.

A recurring theme of the award speeches was the lack of recognition given to freelances who risk their lives for their trade, and who lack the protection that come from working for a large news organization. 

Award nominee Vaughan Smith, shortlisted for his feature Fighting in Helman, said: “I’ve been shot at more times than I have been credited by the BBC.”

The ceremony was hosted by CNN newscaster Fionnula Sweeney and spearheaded by the Rory Peck Trust, an organisation that provides financial support to journalists and their families in need of help.

 “The winners represent thousands of freelancers around the world whose determination and courage inform us about those dark corners of the world that affect all our lives,” said Tina Carr, Director of the Rory Peck Trust.

She added: “The breadth of entries this year from Jung In Taek and Han Yong Ho in South Korea to Uzbekistan, Myanmar, the Congo and Zimbabwe are testament to the global need for our work.”


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