WASHINGTON – Radio Free Asia won two awards at the 16th annual Hong Kong Human Rights Press Awards sponsored by the Foreign Correspondents Club, Amnesty International, and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. RFA’s video documentary series on human trafficking in Asia won in the contest’s online content category and its Cantonese language story on the humiliation of a Chinese rights advocate garnered a merit award in the radio broadcast category.
“These hard-won awards reflect the commitment to the eye-opening journalism RFA does on a daily basis,” said Libby Liu, Radio Free Asia’s president. “Our reporting brings our audience closer to the truth, no matter how difficult the subject matter or media environment in which RFA language services operate.”
RFA’s online human trafficking series, representing the research and work of videographers spanning a year, documents the advent of child soldier recruitment in Burma, labor abuses in China’s black factories, traffickers targeting refugee camps in Thailand, and North Korean mothers being forcibly wed in China, among other instances of trafficking. Drawing from in-country interviews with victims, NGO representatives, and traffickers themselves, the videos tell the first-person stories of trafficking that affects millions in Asia. Together, the individual videos seek to go beyond the content’s shock value to explore the human subjects and complex factors that underpin trafficking in Asia, namely, population displacement, poverty, ethnic discrimination, cultural pressures, war, and government corruption, among other issues.
RFA Cantonese’s reporter Grace Leung was honored at the event for her radio story on Hebei rights activist Xu Yishun who was jailed for one and a half years in a re-education center for charges related to his plan to visit the wife of then-jailed Shandong blind activist Chen Guangcheng. Xu incurred mistreatment during his imprisonment and public humiliation upon his release in September 2011 when he was discharged without adequate clothing and his relatives were not allowed to pick him up at the prison gates.
Other news organizations recognized at this year’s event included South China Morning Post, National Public Radio, International Herald Tribune, and Time magazine, among other regional Hong Kong-based outlets. The winners were named at an April 21 ceremony held at the Foreign Correspondents Club in Hong Kong.