The $5 Forests 101 East Finalist Print/Online Media Awards

Amnesty International Australia Media Awards: Meet the 2021 Print/Online Finalists

The Amnesty International Australia Media Awards recognise the important work of media professionals operating in Australia to expose human rights abuses around the world.

With the impending announcement of this year’s winners on the 18th November – meet the finalists in the Print/Online category and their entries to this years’ awards. In no particular order:

“Death or Deliverance: detention’s cruel line”, Ben Doherty, The Guardian

Photo of Ben Doherty’s entry to the Amnesty International Australia Media Awards 2021

These two stories, both years in the telling, demonstrate the fine line that so often exists for those in detention – between freedom and finality.

The privations, abuses, and neglect of Australia’s offshore and onshore immigration detention regimes are some of the most serious, persistent, but also hidden, human rights violations committed by and in this country.

Fazel Chegeni and Loghman Sawari both came to Australia by boat, both fleeing persecution in Iran. While ultimately starkly contrasting, their cases represent two of the most acute brutalities (these stories were part of a larger series on asylum and refugee cases).

The judges’ comments:

“A beautifully written article that captures the tragedy in the life and death of a man who struggled to find his place in this world. The contrast between the man’s fragility and Australia’s harsh refugee system is stark and brings home the brutality of how the system operates.”

“Deep and sensitive reporting of very complicated stories, these articles expose serious questions about how Australia treats (or ignores) those it owes protection to. Powerful journalism.”

“The $5 Forests”, 101 East, Al Jazeera

Photo of 101 East’s entry to the Amnesty International Media Awards 2021

“The $5 Forests” is the result of a year-long investigation which reveals the corporate players behind human rights abuses and exploitation of Indigenous communities in West Papua, a remote restive corner of Indonesia.

Produced by a team of Australian journalists for Al Jazeera English, the digital project shows how Asia’s largest remaining rainforests are being plundered for a pittance in dubious land deals involving two South Korean resource giants – Korindo and Posco International.

The interactive project exposes the questionable conduct of these corporations, including a failure in some instances to acquire the necessary permission from Indigenous tribes and the Indonesian government before plundering the land. While communities received meagre payments, both companies expected to make a billion dollars from timber cultivation and the subsequent establishment of palm oil plantations.

The judges’ comments:

“A beautiful and engaging story presentation that delivers readers into the jungles of Borneo through interesting visual design, graphics and audio, which helps readers to understand the devastation caused by a complex financial issue.”

“Incredibly innovative and compelling storytelling on a complicated and obscure (yet very important) topic. Beautiful multimedia use backed up a strong narrative.”

“In the Witness Box”, Elise Kinsella, Ben Knight & Joanna McCarthy, ABC

Photo of Elise Kinsella’s entry to the Amnesty International Media Awards 2021

As a 17-year-old Nadia Bach reported an alleged prolonged sexual attack to police. The case made it to the Victorian County Court. But throughout that nearly two-year legal process Nadia felt like her voice had rarely been heard.

Transcripts from these closed court hearings showed a sexual assault complainant being questioned about what she had been wearing, how sheer her top was, how she kissed an unrelated person.

This story gave Nadia a voice. Her’s is the story of a young woman let down by many. It is a story that asks big questions of our justice system and whether it does enough to respect the human rights of sexual assault victims. But maybe it asks even bigger questions of all of us and how we in our own communities respond when women speak up.

The judges’ comments:

“Sensitive and original reporting that takes readers on a compelling journey through the eyes of a 17-year-old sexual assault complainant on how she was treated in the court system and the deep harm that can be inflicted.”

“An affecting, powerful and sensitively-told work. The multimedia presentation, underpinning Nadia’s quotes and the court transcripts, pull together several difficult elements into a cohesive, bold piece of reporting that tells a shocking story of how survivors are treated by the justice system.”

Thanks to this years’ Print/Online judges

  • Charis Chang,
  • Josh Butler, The New Daily
  • Lisa Davies, The Sydney Morning Herald

Follow the Media Awards

Winners of this years’ Media Awards will be announced in an online ceremony on the 18th November. To find out more about the Awards you can follow the coverage on our social channels, or follow updates on our website.