(Bangkok) – Human Rights Watch and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University marked World Human Rights Day today by announcing that they will be co-administering the Human Rights Press Awards which previously were administered by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong (FCCHK) for over a quarter century. The application process opens today and will run through February 1.
FCCHK suspended the awards, which recognize the best in human rights reporting in Asia, following the Chinese government’s imposition of a draconian national security law in Hong Kong in June 2020. Since then, Hong Kong authorities’ assault on press freedom has shuttered one of the city’s largest papers, Apple Daily, along with at least eight other outlets. Such risks led to FCCHK’s decision not to administer the awards.
The Human Rights Press Awards have a long and distinguished history of recognizing outstanding reporting on human rights issues in Asia. Previous winners include Philippine journalist and Nobel Prize winner Maria Ressa and Malaysian-born Los Angeles Times photojournalist Marcus Yam, winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography.
“Human Rights Watch is pleased to continue the tradition of recognizing, rewarding, and supporting great reporting on human rights issues, especially at this critical time in Asia,” said Tirana Hassan, acting executive director of Human Rights Watch. “In a time of disinformation and propaganda, powerful fact-based reporting on what is happening in China, Afghanistan, Myanmar, and so many other places is crucially important.”
The goal of the awards is to increase respect for people’s basic rights and to focus attention on threats to those freedoms. It receives hundreds of entries every year from across Asia. There are 16 categories ranging from breaking news to commentary and include all mediums – writing, photography, video, audio, and multimedia. There are no fees for submitting nominations, and entries may be in English or Chinese.
“The Cronkite School is more than just one of the premier journalism and mass communication programs in the U.S. – we aim to be a global force for change. This partnership with Human Rights Watch fits with that mission by providing a rock-solid foundation for the Human Rights Press Awards’ second quarter-century,” said Dr. Battinto L. Batts, Jr., Dean of the Cronkite School. “The next 25 years will see these awards recognized as the world’s pre-eminent honors for human-rights reporting.”
The 2023 winners will be announced on May 3, 2023, World Press Freedom Day. Human Rights Watch and the Cronkite School will also recognize 2022’s winners who were not formally recognized following the cancelation of the awards in Hong Kong.