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Tourists on one end of a Similans beach, prostrate boatpeople at the other

Phuket Reporters Win Human Rights Prize

Sunday, April 18, 2010
PHUKETWAN reporters have shared an important prize at the 14th Human Rights Press Awards in Hong Kong. The announcement was made on Saturday.

The 'South China Morning Post' newspaper reported: ''The team of Alan Morison, Chutima Sidasathian and Maseeh Rahman, former international editor Ian Young and chief Asia correspondent Greg Torode won the general news prize for exposing a secret Thai army policy of detaining Rohingya boatpeople from Myanmar [Burma], towing them to sea and abandoning them.''

Phuketwan journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, having reported that the boatpeople were being held in secret on an island off the Andaman coast north of Phuket, turned to the newspaper to help complete the investigation.

The Post won a record 14 prizes and special merits, beating major international news weeklies and agencies, as well as local and regional newspapers.

''The awards, co-organised by Amnesty International, the Foreign Correspondents Club and the Hong Kong Journalists' Association, recognise the work of 58 journalists, photo journalists and news organisations,'' the Post reported. ''Amnesty International Hong Kong's chairwoman, Mabel Au, said the awards brought to the fore once more stories that had been forgotten.''

Francis Moriarty, of the Foreign Correspondents' Club, said the awards were dedicated to the memory of 32 journalists who were among 57 people killed in November during an ambush in Maguindanao in the southern Philippines.

Special guest was Myrna Reblando of the Justice Now! movement. Her husband, journalist Alejandro Reblando of 'The Manila Bulletin', was among the journalists murdered.

In an emotional speech in both English and Tagalog, Reblando appealed for help to bring the perpetrators of the massacre to justice.

Phuketwan editor Alan Morison said today he was delighted that the plight of the Rohingya continued to be recognised. ''If only Thailand would put some pressure on Burma to solve the issue,'' he said.

''The world can see how badly these people are treated, but governments are blind to abuse.'' He said it was the role of good journalists to open the eyes of authorities, and to right ''human wrongs.''

''Even on a holiday island like Phuket, there is much that needs to change,'' he said. ''And being a local news outlet doesn't mean we can ignore global issues.''

Earlier this year, Phuketwan reporters shared the Scoop of the Year 2009 award for their exclusive reports in the Post on the Rohingya.
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

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?

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

'Withered' Rohingya Rescued from Ranong
Latest Rohingya boatpeople have been evacuated from Ranong Immigration detention centre. A doctor says conditions there were so bad that two men died and more were endangered.
'Withered' Rohingya Rescued from Ranong

Burma's Secret Exodus: The Illegal Road to Patong
Latest News Phuket and Patong especially rely on large numbers of Burmese workers. Now, as a registration deadline draws near, authorities are cracking down on secret voyagers.
Burma's Secret Exodus: The Illegal Road to Patong

Comments

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Well done to you and your team.
This is a great award for Phuketwan.
I say again, well done.

Posted by Graham on April 18, 2010 11:46

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Proud of you! Huge respect! You deserve it....

Posted by Anonymous on April 18, 2010 12:08

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Congratulations!! Keep up the good work!!

Posted by BigP on April 18, 2010 12:44

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Very well done, indeed!

Posted by Treelover on April 18, 2010 13:03

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Richly deserved for your excellent reporting. Now how about a photograph of the winning team then?
Congratulations indeed.

Posted by Robin on April 18, 2010 14:32

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Congrats!

Posted by D on April 18, 2010 15:02

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Congratulations again!

If only Thailand had compassion.

Posted by VFaye on April 18, 2010 17:41

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Good work, and keep it up guys! From what I've been reading, it sounds like conditions for the Rohingya in Burma and Bangladesh are getting even worse, so let's hope you and others keep the spotlight on it...

Posted by Lana on April 18, 2010 19:50

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CONGRATULATIONS, you should be very proud!

Posted by Kristy-Kate on April 18, 2010 23:06

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WELL DONE, YOU DESERVE IT,CONGRATULATIONS....

Posted by J D on April 19, 2010 10:38

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Alan,
Congrats to you and all the team. Wonderful to see some recognition coming your way and keep up the good work.

Posted by lantawan on April 26, 2010 11:36

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I wonder how the Thai Navy would like it if one of there boats went down and people treated the sailors like they treated others !

Instead of rescuing them, left them at sea with no water, and no hope.

I was in the Canadian Navy once and our job was to help people.

Editor: There has never been any conclusive evidence that the Thai Navy orchestrated the ''pushbacks.''

Posted by Capt Canada on April 30, 2010 19:24

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Pardon me I didn't read right. I was more interested and felt the shame for us all of the picture, "a secret Thai army policy of detaining Rohingya boatpeople from Myanmar [Burma], towing them to sea and abandoning them.''

Either way as part of the group of guys who were going to watch your back during the war and believed in the fight in Laos years ago and was willing to do the dirty work.

I feel today we have to think more of this global village and the rights of all.

I know its a dirty word, one world one family, but it is in deed that, and it's time we all started looking after each other and addressing the problems that face us all.

Posted by Capt Canada on May 1, 2010 00:17


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