Journalists shining a light on environmental racism, the horrifying legacies of residential schools, and gaps in government oversight of Canadian mining companies are among the winners of Amnesty International Canada’s 27th annual Media Awards.
‘We heartily congratulate the winners and thank them for their extraordinary efforts to spotlight injustice and celebrate people and communities building a more equitable world.’Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada
To be presented in a virtual ceremony on October 12, 2022, the awards recognize excellence in human-rights reporting by Canada-based journalists and Canadian journalists working abroad. This year’s winners are:
- Local/Alternative Media:“Indigenous women still live in fear 50 years after murder of Helen Betty Osborne,” Shari Narine, Windspeaker.com
- Honourable mention: “No room for racism in the workplace, says heavy equipment operator,” Odette Auger, Windspeaker.com
- Long-Form Podcast: Season Two of CBC Podcasts’s The Village, Justin Ling, Jennifer Fowler, Julia Wittmann, Eunice Kim, Arif Noorani, Chris Oke, Cesil Fernandes, Fabiola Melendez Carletti, Alex V Green, and Faith Fundal
- Honourable mention: “‘I die when I run out of money,’” Cherise Seucharan, Tristan Capacchione, and Kieran Oudshoorn, Canadaland
- Long–Form Radio: “Reconciliation reality check with Murray Sinclair,” Rosanna Deerchild, Kim Kaschor, and Erin Noel, CBC Radio’s Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild
- Long-Form Video: “Food Shock: Undercover inside the global tomato trade,” Eric Szeto, Caitlin Taylor, Asha Tomlinson, Matteo Civillini, Zorayda Gallegos Valle, and Winston Szeto, CBC TV’s Marketplace
- Mixed Media:“Toxic legacy: The fight to end environmental racism in Canada,” Megan O’Toole and Jillian Kestler-D’Amours, Al Jazeera
- Honourable mention: “Residential school survivors reflect on a brutal legacy: ‘That could’ve been me,’” Brandi Morin, National Geographic
- National Written News:“Houses of Hate: How Canada’s prison system is broken,” Justin Ling, Maclean’s
- Honourable mention: “Canada’s ‘crying shame:’ The fields full of children’s bones,” Brandi Morin, Al Jazeera
- Short-Form Video: “Trudeau government backpedals on investigating human rights complaints against mining companies,” Jasmine Pazzano, Global News
- Post-Secondary Youth:“UBC says it’s divesting its endowment from fossil fuels by 2030. Will it be enough?” Matthew Asuncion, The Ubyssey
- Honourable mention: “‘Legal name exposure is really not benign:’ Trans community members concerned about vaccine card process,” Charlotte Alden, The Ubyssey
“We heartily congratulate the winners and thank them for their extraordinary efforts to spotlight injustice and celebrate people and communities building a more equitable world,” said Ketty Nivyabandi, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada (English Section). “Because of their journalism, we have a clearer view of the human-rights challenges — and opportunities — emerging in Canada and how they connect with the global movement for freedom, dignity, and justice for all.”
A former journalist herself, Nivyabandi said the winning pieces stood out because they explore complex issues through the prism of human stories. “At its best, human-rights journalism is deeply personal. On their own, hard-won facts and savvy analysis may engage the audience’s mind, but it is the appeal to one’s own human experience that ultimately sparks people to act.”
The honoured works, both individually and as a group, reveal important connections between human-rights issues and people’s intersecting identities, Nivyabandi added. “To fully measure the human impact of climate change, anti-LGBTQ2S+ discrimination, and gender-based violence, we must connect them with poverty, racism, or corporate accountability. Without an intersectional lens, journalists and human-rights defenders alike are powerless to make sense of the most pressing issues of our time.”
The winners will accept their awards during a virtual ceremony at 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT on Wednesday, October 12, to be streamed on Amnesty International Canada’s Facebook page. Hosting the festivities will be Emily Mills, the Toronto-based founder of How She Hustles, a social network connecting tens of thousands of diverse professional women in Canada and beyond.
This year’s panel of judges featured a diverse group of experts in Canadian media:
- Daniella Barreto is Amnesty International Canada’s Digital Activism Coordinator and the host of the upcoming podcast Rights Back at You.
- Patricia W. Elliott is a professor of investigative and community journalism at First Nations University of Canada and a multi-award-winning freelance investigative journalist.
- Adrian Harewood is an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University and was a long-time host of CBC Ottawa News at 6.
- Nora Loreto is a Quebec City-based activist, author, and co-host of the podcast Sandy and Nora Talk Politics.
- Eternity Martis is an assistant professor in the School of Journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University and the award-winning author of They Said This Would Be Fun: Race, Campus Life, and Growing Up.
- Sara Mojtehedzadeh is the Work and Wealth reporter on the Toronto Star’s investigations team. She won an Amnesty Media Award for her December 2020 exposé on the high rate of worker injuries at Amazon warehouses in Canada.
- Cory Ruf is Amnesty International Canada’s Media Officer, a former journalist, and a past recipient of an Amnesty Media Award.
- John Tackaberry served as Amnesty International Canada’s Media Officer for more than 20 years and worked for many years as a journalist before that. The Media Awards were John’s vision and he has served as a judge from the inception, including now in his retirement.
- Antonia Zerbisias is a multi-award-winning journalist and former Toronto Star columnist with more than 40 years’ total experience in print, radio, TV, and digital storytelling.
“We thank the judges for the time and effort they invested in reviewing the submissions,” said Nivyabandi. “The Media Awards would not be possible without their expertise and their commitment to celebrating the best of what Canadian human-rights journalism has to offer.”