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Kurt Schork Memorial Fund rewards IMI's work in defending journalists' rights

03.10.2023, 19:00

The Kurt Schork Memorial Fund recognised the work of the Institute of Mass Information and contributed US $5,000 to support our work ensuring safety for journalists and defending their rights.

This is stated on the Award's website and in the greeting letter received by IMI.

The Award team noted that this year, the majority of applications for these Awards were from Ukraine. "In recognition of the challenges journalists face in reporting from the region, the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund is pleased to make a contribution of US $5,000 to the Kyiv-based Institute of Mass Information, to support their on-going work monitoring attacks on journalists and providing safety, security and other expert training for frontline reporters," the message reads.

Asami Terajima wins the 2023 Local Reporter Award. Terajima is a journalist at the Kyiv Independent, Ukraine’s leading English-language online newspaper. Reporting from Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, Terajima shines a light on the brutal realities of war through the eyes of Ukrainian soldiers. The judges described Terajima’s work as “a compelling [and] very useful addition to coverage of the biggest story in a generation.”

This year’s News Fixer Award goes to Syrian Kurdish journalist Hisham Arafat. Since 2011, Arafat has been actively covering the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, collaborating with both local and international news agencies and media outlets. Utilising his vast network and understanding of the local context, he was able to secure rare access to former Islamic State fighters held in a crowded prison guarded by the Kurds.

Léa Polverini, a French freelance journalist and editor covering international news and human rights abuses, wins the 2023 Kurt Schork Freelance Award. Polverini wins the award for her series looking at Muslim minorities subject to persecution in China’s Xinjiang territories. The judges noted that her work “put faces to the victims and showed a side of a country that too many people, or entities, are willing to ignore.”

Now in their 22nd year, these Awards recognise brave journalists for their reporting on conflict, corruption and injustice, and are named in honour of American freelance journalist Kurt Schork who was killed in Sierra Leone while on assignment for Reuters in 2000.

The three winners will each receive a cash prize of US $5,000 and will be spotlighted through a multi-media campaign on the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s social media channels (X, formerly Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn). Polverini and Terajima will also speak in a panel session, moderated by international correspondent Yalda Hakim, at the Foundation’s annual Trust Conference. Taking place in London on 19 and 20 October, the conference will be free to attend.

Ukrainians also became finalists in the following nominations:

News Fixer: Oleksandr (Sashko) Chubko, Alla Didur, Marta Rodionova, Anna Vlasenko.

Freelance jorunalist: Anastasia Magazova.

About the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund

Named in honour of American freelance journalist Kurt Schork, the Kurt Schork Memorial Fund exists to keep the world aware of the debt owed to brave journalists who work hard – often at great personal risk – to report on conflict, corruption and injustice. The annual Kurt Schork Awards in International Journalism uniquely honour the work of freelance journalists, local reporters and news fixers, who often otherwise receive little recognition.

About the Thomson Reuters Foundation

The Thomson Reuters Foundation is the corporate foundation of Thomson Reuters, the global news and information services company. As an independent charity, registered in the UK and the USA, it works to advance media freedom, foster more inclusive economies, and promote human rights. Through news, media development, free legal assistance and convening initiatives, it uses the combined power of journalism and the law to build global awareness of critical issues faced by humanity, inspire collective leadership and help shape a prosperous world where no one is left behind.

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