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Freedom reflected: Boatpeople are still being held in detention by Thailand

Phuket Pair Win Top Asia Pacific Reporting Awards

Wednesday, June 9, 2010
PHUKET journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian have shared a third and a fourth major international award for their coverage of the Rohingya boatpeople pushbacks from Thailand.

The Phuketwan team picked up a share of the Society of Publishers in Asia (SOPA) Award for Excellence in Investigative Reporting and a second Award for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting.

The awards make the Phuketwan team Phuket's most highly decorated journalists. Their latest awards came as part of the combined coverage of the issue with the Hong Kong English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post.

The accolades were announced at a gala dinner organised by the Society of Publishers in Asia at the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong on Monday night.

Judges said of the Excellence in Investigative Reporting award: ''An excellent series that uncovered serious government abuses and had a material impact in correcting them. Exclusivity. Strong reporting. Hard-hitting piece with international implications.''

Of the Excellence in Human Rights Reporting award, the judges said: ''Excellent investigative work that exposed serious human rights abuses of oppressed people. Intrepid reporting of a hidden subject. This is a high-caliber series buttressed by solid on-the-ground reporting and great pictures. All militaries are challenging subjects for investigative reporters and Thailand's is no exception. The team clearly went to great lengths to get sources, break news, and provide the details that prodded the government into action.''

Morison and Khun Chutima shared the awards with Maseeh Rahman, Ian Young and Greg Torode in the category for English-language newspapers that circulate primarily in one or two countries, English-language magazines with circulation under 50,000 and English-language websites with five million monthly uniques or below.

Phuketwan broke the story of Thailand's treatment of the Rohingya exclusively online in January 2009 then reported it several days later for the pages of the South China Morning Post to make sure the issue received mainstream international coverage.

Among the other SOPA award winners were journalists from the Financial Times, TIME Asia, Newsweek, the International Herald Tribune, the Wall Street Journal Asia, the Straits Times and Reuters. The entries were assessed by 109 high calibre judges worldwide.

Earlier this year, the Phuketwan team also shared the honor of being awarded the prize for Scoop of the Year at the Hong Kong News Awards 2009 and later the general news prize at the Human Rights Press Awards in Hong Kong ''for exposing a secret Thai army policy of detaining Rohingya boatpeople from Myanmar [Burma], towing them to sea and abandoning them.''

The SOPA awards site online says: ''Now in their 12th year, the Society of Publishers in Asia Awards for Editorial Excellence have become the highest accolade for the publishing industry in the region, honoring the very best journalism that it has to offer.

''Whether it is traditional broadsheet, magazine, purely online, newswire or multimedia news, the SOPA Awards pay tribute to the vibrant editorial scene across Asia Pacific and act as a true benchmark from which publishing practitioners can measure themselves.

''Last year's Awards received more than 547 entries from 97 publications and digital publishers from across the region, including Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines and India, as well as new markets such as Korea, Australia, Cambodia and Thailand.''

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand recognised the work of Phuket's Phuketwan journalists in 2009 by carrying a profile of them in the club's magazine.

Morison, who is also editor and publisher of Phuketwan, said: ''We've sparked coverage of a number of vital themes on Phuket and around the Andaman region and we intend to continue reporting the important issues.''
Phuket Reporters Win Human Rights Prize
News Awards Phuketwan reporters have shared an important international Human Rights Award in Hong Kong for their work in exposing the plight of the Rohingya boatpeople.
Phuket Reporters Win Human Rights Prize

Phuket Team Scoops Top Award for Reporting
Latest Phuketwan has picked up a top news award as part of the team that broke the Scoop of the Year 2009. Coincidentally, the award comes amid reports of boatpeople near Phuket.
Phuket Team Scoops Top Award for Reporting

Pushbacks Exposed: Andaman Story of The Year
Behind the Front Page The Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand magazine reports on how Phuketwan reporters revealed the Army's coverup of the horrifying boat people pushbacks.
Pushbacks Exposed: Andaman Story of The Year

Phuket's Top 10 News Items of the Decade
Photo Album Tsunami Plus . . . here is Phuketwan's list of the most important stories of the decade on Phuket and in the Andaman region, including some that we may yet see repeated.
Phuket's Top 10 News Items of the Decade

Phuket's Big Puzzle: Where Are The Boatpeople?
UPDATE Navy activity today lends credence to reports that an unusual vessel, possibly a boatload of would be refugees, may be at sea close to the popular tourist destination of Phuket.
Phuket's Big Puzzle: Where Are The Boatpeople?

Boatpeople off Thailand: Conflicting Accounts Grow
Breaking News Conflicting reports surround Thailand's treatment of 93 Rohingya boatpeople. A Royal Thai Navy spokesman says another group may already be being held in Thailand.
Boatpeople off Thailand: Conflicting Accounts Grow

Comments

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Congratulations - just recognition for some good 'old-fashioned' journalism. Keep stirring!

Posted by rfdunedin on June 10, 2010 03:58

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Brave reporting and a well deserved reward. A great pity the local press corps would not dare write anything that could upset the applecart of wealthy and influential Phuketians. Congratulations!!

Posted by helen on June 10, 2010 08:52

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Very well done, indeed! And please do keep at it knowing that your great work is appreciated.

Posted by Treelover on June 10, 2010 08:59

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Congratulations to you both! Well done.

Posted by Lee on June 10, 2010 09:54

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Congrats! Well deserved.

Posted by D on June 10, 2010 10:13

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congrats and well deserved. you make the others look amateurish

Posted by sean on June 10, 2010 10:45

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Well done and well deserved! Having had a behind-the-scenes look at how this story came together - and knowing about the threats and the intense pressure you had to keep this under wraps - I am very proud of both of you for your bravery and persistence in exposing this abuse.

Congratulations! Let's hope it makes a difference and keeps the spotlight on these distressed people.

This quote comes to mind:
"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
- Martin Luther King, Jr

Posted by Lana on June 10, 2010 10:46

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Please learn to respect your reader's and respect your comment's we don't need a reply from every single comment we make, i really do hope that you leave this job soon as you are making phuket wan lose business. Pretty soon their may be a petition to get you fired, i can't take people being un professional in their job's it make's me feel sick and you are sick and very very rude old man. it's people like you that make Phuket the hell it is today.

Posted by Frank on June 10, 2010 13:11

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Well done congrats,,,,good article

Posted by barka on June 10, 2010 13:12

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Congrats!

Frank, if it was not that important you would not post at all, so the conclusion is, you love it!

Posted by Anders on June 10, 2010 14:43

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Well done !

Posted by elizabeth on June 10, 2010 20:43


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