The winners of the 2020 Journalists’ Charity Special Awards will be announced at the National and Regional Press Awards this year. The awards are given to individuals who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty in demonstrating an outstanding commitment and contribution to journalism.
Last year the charity was delighted to honour the photojournalist Paul Conroy for his dedication to securing justice for his friend and colleague Marie Colvin who was killed while reporting on the war in Syria. Paul continues to work tirelessly to raise awareness of the plight of the Syrian people and the treatment of journalists by the regime.
Seven years ago Syrian Government forces deliberately shelled a makeshift media centre from where Paul and the renowned war reporter Marie Colvin were reporting the battle of Homs for the Sunday Times. Colvin and a French photographer, a friend of Paul’s, were killed outright.
Conroy escaped with a severe leg wound, with the urgent plea of some of his Syrian helpers to ‘go tell the world’, ringing in his ears.
Since then Paul, a modest Liverpudlian former solider, has been relentless in pursuit of justice for his fallen friends and colleagues and to continually expose the barbarity of the Syrian regime.
Under The Wire, the book he wrote when he eventually left hospital, was made into a documentary last year. A feature film, A Private War, starring Rosamund Pike as Colvin and Jamie Dornan as Conroy has recently been released.
While Paul will say the story should be about Assad and Syria and not himself, or Marie Colvin, it was their bravery and compassion that gave the story its voice.
Paul showed remarkable courage bearing witness to the appalling events in Homs which have been shown to be a deliberate attempt to silence the media.
Since its establishment more than 150 years ago, the Journalists’ Charity has recognised outstanding compassion and commitment demonstrated by journalists.
Journalist Lyra McKee, who was murdered by republican terrorists while reporting on rioting in Northern Ireland in May 2019 was honoured by charity for her ‘outstanding commitment and contribution to journalism’ at the Regional press awards in May.
The charity’s special award was presented to Lyra’s mother, Mrs Joan McKee, and her sister, Mrs Nichola Corner, at the Regional Press Awards ceremony in London (17/5/19)
Receiving the award at the ceremony Mrs Corner said:
“Since Lyra was taken from us in the most horrific way, our family has said that her death should not be in vain and the ideals she held dearly are remembered. We have been deeply moved by the support we have received and are very thankful that Lyra’s qualities as a person and as a committed journalist have been recognised with this special award.”