Refugee Week Media awards winners announced

media awards 2014 winners
Refugee Week Scotland media awards winners 2014

A short film about a refused asylum seeker living alone in one of Glasgow’s massive Red Road tower blocks with only two pet canaries for company has triumphed in this year’s Refugee Week Scotland Media Awards.

‘The Bird Man of Red Road’, by independent film maker Chris Leslie, scooped the broadcast category at a presentation ceremony at Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket earlier tonight (Friday, 20 June).

The judges described the film as: "Broadcast journalism at its most powerful, that is, with simple storytelling at its heart.

“The filmmaker allowed Jamal's words and relationship with his canaries to drive the story forward so that the viewer, for a short period of time, entered the world of the asylum seeker.

“The starkness of the shots, coupled with understated music and artistic camera angles, left no need for unwanted editorialising."

Runner-up in broadcast was Lucy Adams, BBC Scotland, for her package “Cutting Love” dealing with the difficult topic of female genital mutilation.

The awards, staged by The British Red Cross, Scottish Refugee Council and the National Union of Journalists, aim to encourage fair, accurate and balanced coverage of asylum and refugee issues in Scotland. The competition is open to all journalists working for media outlets in Scotland and is judged by a panel of industry figures.

Doug Gillon of The Herald lifted The National Print (News) award for his expose of the plight of a group of Eritrean refugee athletes “abandoned” by the Scottish Athletics governing body.

Winner of the National Print (Features) award was freelancer Billy Briggs whose powerful piece about a Syrian asylum seeker forced to flee his homeland, leaving his family behind, appeared in the Sunday Mail.

Runner-up in this category was Judith Duffy of the Sunday Herald with her piece on a Scottish Government pledge to grant asylum seekers the right to work and the difference it would make to those currently denied the chance to use their skills to earn a living while awaiting a decision on their future.

The Photography section was won by freelancer Iman Tajik for his image of “Girl with Instrument”.

Runner-up was Colin Mearns of the Herald and Times Group for his picture of Home Office protestors.

The Local (Print) prize went to freelancer Cordelia O’Neill, writing in Glasgow Now, who highlighted a group of women refugees who staged a conference to formulate an agenda and strategies to present to politicians and to make their voices heard.

The Digital category was lifted by Rachael Fulton of STV Local for her online feature on the plight of LBGT refugees forced to flee their homelands – such as Uganda – to escape persecution and prosecution under harsh anti-gay laws

Runner-up was Daily Record Online for their piece on the cross-party condemnation by Holyrood politicians of the Home Office poster campaign telling anyone living in Britain without legal consent to go home.

The presentation ceremony was one of the highlights of Refugee Week Scotland – a festival of events co-ordinated by Scottish Refugee Council, celebrating the contribution of refugees to the UK - and preceded the World Refugee Day concert staged at the Old Fruitmarket.

Derek Masterton, senior media relations officer for the Red Cross in Scotland and a spokesman for the organisers, said: “It is very encouraging to see the amount of coverage that asylum and refugee issues are being given in all branches of the Scottish media and the sense of balance being brought to the subject.

“Judging the awards seems to get harder every year because of the continuing high standards set by journalists. This honest, even-handed approach needs to be recognised and appreciated for the part it plays in changing perceptions and dispelling myths.”