Sky News special correspondent Alex Crawford scooped the Broadcast Journalist of the year award at last night’s inaugural Society of Editors’ Media Freedom awards.
The accolade is the reward for Crawford’s outstanding reporting in 2022 where she witnessed the suffering of those affected and marginalised by the Taliban in Afghanistan. She travelled to the Badghis region – the country’s poorest province – and reported on families forced to sell their kidneys to make money. While parents told her they were willing to sell their daughters into marriage at just five years old because poverty and desperation had robbed them of the means to feed and raise them.
Not afraid to challenge those in positions of power, Crawford negotiated access to the Taliban’s highest officials allowing her to challenge them on recent human rights violations directly, giving a priceless mindset into Afghanistan’s new rulers.
Crawford and her crew spent weeks in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv during the first weeks of the Russian invasion and conducted the first UK TV broadcast interview of President Zelensky. The team have returned many times since and reported from several frontlines including Chernihiv, Lysychansk, Severodonetsk and Irpin.
The award is testimony to Crawford’s 30-year, fearless career during which she has been arrested, detained, abducted, interrogated and faced live bullets, tear-gas, IEDs, and mortar shells. Wherever she is in the world, her eyewitness reports underscore the power of world class journalism to drive change; by shining a light in the world’s darkest corners her reporting radiates and awakens our common humanity. What happens on one side of the world has never had more impact on audiences here at home.
Crawford was also highly commended in the Foreign Correspondent of The Year category.
Cameras in Courts
Sky News were part of a group including PA, BBC and ITN to receive a special award for their Cameras in Courts campaign. The Bob Satchwell Award for Freedom of Speech, created to honour an exceptional organisation or individual who continuously champions the public’s right to know, was accepted on stage by representatives from the broadcasters involved in the campaign including Sky News’ Deputy Head of News gathering Sarah Whitehead and Head of Operations George Davies.
The award follows a decade-long campaign led by Head of Sky News John Ryley and ITN’s John Battle to allow cameras to film sentencing remarks with the aim of letting audiences hear judges explain the reasons behind the sentences they are delivering.
In July this year, Judge Sarah Munro QC made legal history as she delivered the first broadcast sentencing remarks in a Crown Court. The filming in the Old Bailey’s court 2 was the first time cameras had been allowed into the criminal court in England and Wales.
These significant reforms, which empower the public with greater transparency of the workings of the legal system, would not have been possible without hard work and collaboration across the industry.
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