Media Awards: Spotlight on the 2017 Photography Winner

Each year the Amnesty International Australia Media Awards acknowledge those Australian media stories that have presented a fair and balanced report of a human rights issue, highlighted hidden abuses and encouraged an audience’s greater understanding of a human rights issue.

With just less than a week left before entries close for this year’s 2021 awards, we’re celebrating winners from previous years’ to demonstrate the importance of a free press.

Media Awards’ 2017 Photography Winner

Winner of the 2017 Amnesty International Media Awards Photography category was Kate Geraghty with ‘Mosul’ for Fairfax Media.

Kate Geraghty has been photographing conflict in Iraq since 2003, ‘Mosul’ is a series of photographs documenting the last days of the battle to liberate West Mosul from its occupation by ISIS since 2013.

What was the Battle for Mosul?

The battle for Mosul began on 17th October 2016, when Iraqi, Kurdish and Coalition forces began an offensive in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq, in an attempt to remove it from ISIS control. The eight-month offensive caused massive infrastructural damage to the city and resulted in the injury and death of around 2,463 civilians across the Nineveh province.

The UN estimated that the cost of rebuilding the city’s basic infrastructure would be around $1 billion US dollars, with double that cost needed to rebuild other infrastructure such as schools and hospitals. Due to the threats to their lives, and the inability to access proper food, water or shelter, over 800,000 inhabitants were forced to flee their homes to refugee camps, reception centres or to live with family in other parts of the country.

‘Mosul’ is a series of photographs capturing the reality of the Battle for Mosul for its residents as they live through the mass destruction caused by the fierce battle for occupancy. Kate Geraghty captures images of families fleeing the city, the moment a mother comforts her son suffering from burns, and the vast piles of debris littering the city.

What is happening in Mosul now?

Today, Mosul’s residents are coming to terms with the damage left behind by the ISIS occupation and the offensive of 2016-17. With over 35, 000 buildings destroyed and an estimated over $1 billion worth of investment needed to restore the city’s infrastructure, residents are being left to finance and begin the rebuilding process themselves amidst political tensions in the region.

Kate Geraghty’s work offers an important insight into the true nature of conflict, and the lasting result of the destruction in Mosul.

Judge of this years’ Photography category for the 2021 Media Awards, Sylvia Liber says of press freedom:

“Storytelling will never die as it’s human instinct to want to learn about what’s happening in our society. Therefore, it’s imperative that journalists safely continue to show the world for what it is, without being harassed, imprisoned, or killed.”