The Rory Peck Awards, now in its twentieth year, returned to central London to honour the work of freelance cameramen and camerawomen in news and current affairs.
The night’s four awards were presented to freelancers from northern Iraq, Pakistan and Syria, demonstrating how much the news industry is relying on local freelancers for its coverage of on-going conflicts and hard to reach stories. The ceremony also highlighted the work of the Rory Peck Trust and its support of freelance journalists worldwide.
The Rory Peck Award for News, was won by 27 year old Syrian freelancer, Zein Al-Rifai, for his coverage of the on-going conflict in his home city of Aleppo. Aleppo: Life in Ruins, commissioned and broadcast by AFPTV and shot between June 2014 and February 2015, shows the consequences of the almost daily barrel-bombing and the day-to-day reality of peoples’ lives in the rebel-held area of the city.
The Rory Peck Award for News Features was presented to Iraqi freelancer Zmnako Ismael for On the Road with Yazidis Fleeing Islamic State, a self-funded entry broadcast by Channel 4 News. Judges described his footage as “incredibly moving”. “You felt completely immersed in that incredible story of what felt like an almost biblical exodus. It was beautifully shot and left a real impression”
The Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs was presented to Pakistani freelance cameraman Haider Ali. Ali won for Pakistan’s Hidden Shame which reveals how tens of thousands of vulnerable young boys across Pakistan have become the victims of paedophile predators, many of them bus and truck drivers who have openly admitted to sex with the boys.
This year’s Martin Adler Prize, sponsored by Hexagon, was awarded to Hassan Ashwor, a freelance fixer based in Dohuk, Northern Iraq. The Martin Adler Prize honours a local freelancer who has made a significant contribution to newsgathering under challenging and difficult circumstances within their own country.
Tina Carr, director of the Rory Peck Trust, said, “After twenty years, the mission of the Rory Peck Trust continues: to provide practical and financial support to freelance journalists and their families worldwide. Tonight’s award winners and finalists demonstrate why – they bring us stories that are hard to reach and difficult to tell, and without their talent, determination and bravery our understanding of the world suffers.
“As journalists continue to be targeted all over the world, freelancers remain the most vulnerable. They deserve our recognition, support and protection more than ever.”