Plural Perspectives

Plural Perspectives
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Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Just 10 days apart, two prestigious awards pick Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera English has excelled at the 17th Amnesty International UK Media Awards announced in London on 17th June . The awards recognise excellence in human rights reporting and acknowledge journalism's significant contribution to the UK public's awareness and understanding of human rights issues. In the category of International television and radioAl Jazeera English's entry "The lost tribe - Secret army of the CIA" was declared the winner. The team which contributed in the production of this documentray comprised Eunice Lau, Stephanie Scawen, Tricia Tan and Tony Birtley. View this winning entry

The other two contestants short-listed were:
Assignment: Louisiana burning, BBC World Service - Joanna Mills, Jeremy Skeet, Mike Williams Inside Myanmar - the crackdown, Al Jazeera English - Tony Birtley, Lucy Keating, Marcus Cheek, Badrul Hisham.

Those serving on the Amnesty's panel of judges for entries in the category of International television and radio were Mike Blakemore, Katherine Butler, Tim Marshall, Naresh Puri and Tim Singleton.

It may be recalled that on 10th June 2008, the award for “Best 24 Hour News Program” at the 48th Monte Carlo Television Festival conferred upon Al Jazeera English is not an aberration, but, one in a series of accomplishments scored by a news channel launched only in November 2006. The award recognized Al Jazeera English’s “extensive international reach and efforts to dig deeper to give its international audience a richer understanding of the events that affect their lives.” Al Jazeera English beat entries from BBC News, Sky News, Lisboa TV and the Phoenix Satellite Television Company to take home the award.

Even a cursory glance at AJE’s accomplishments since its launch Al Jazeera English has proved it to be a unique news channel, winning a number of nominations in recognition of its professional quality and technical accomplishments. This also shows AJE’s potential to set new standards in the coming years:

Al Jazeera English's Far East Correspondent Hamish Macdonald won Royal Television Society''s Young Journalist of the Year Award for 2007 while it’s Africa correspondent Haru Mutasa was also among the three nominees.

Al Jazeera English was nominated for news channel of the year in its first year of broadcasting and was up against BBC News 24 and 2006’s winner Sky News. The awards were presented on 20 February 2008 at a ceremony at the London Hilton, hosted by ITV News at Ten’s Julie Etchingham. Over all, Aljazeera English won Royal Television Society Television Journalism Award nominations in the following categories: News - International Afghanistan: Taliban Embed - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English News Channel of the Year Al Jazeera English Young Journalist of the Year Hamish Macdonald - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English Haru Mutasa - Al Jazeera English News Hour Al Jazeera English.

At the 12th Asian Television 2007 Awards, it won the award for Best Single News/Report (Kylie Grey, Orange) Environment Special, and came runners-up for Best news programme Half Hour Bulletin-from Kula Lumpur. Additionally, Al Jazeera English has won three awards at the BDA World Gold Awards. AJE was presented with three Bronze trophies at the 2007 PROMAX & BDA International Conference in New York 14 June 2007 in the categories of Art Direction & Design: Topical Campaign

An even-handed approach to judge a news channel is to look at its demerits and merits. Are there some commentators overwhelmed by an urge to become an executioner before even pretending to be judge and jury? In Aljazeera’s case, many critics with a disposition to dismiss everything new, haste to pass a judgement prior to looking at it sufficiently enough and objectively enough.

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