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Dec 23, 2008 | General News


By By Mary Fianko Akuffo (Paris, France)

...Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter; Members Of The 'elders' Salute him And Five Others.

Anas Aremeyaw Anas, the Crusading Guide's ace investigative reporter last week, scooped two prestigious human rights awards before international heavyweights such as the former United Nations (UN) Secretary, Mr. Kofi Annan, President Jimmy Carter, the 39th President of the USA and the Noble Peace Price laureate and Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The award ceremony held in Maison des Arts et Metiers, in Paris, avenue d'Iena, was organized by INTERNEWS EUROPE, an International Media Development Organization under the auspices of the official French Government Programme and supported by “the Elders” to mark the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was passed on December 10, 1948 in Paris, France.

Ambassador François Zimeray, French Ambassador for Human Rights and Stephane Hessel, Ambassador of France and participant in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 together with the above mentioned dignitaries who constitute the eminent group known as “the Elders” took turns to salute the great work on human rights done by the 30 journalists invited from all over the world for the programme.

Anas of Ghana who was represented by Mary Fianko Akuffo, a reporter of the Crusading Guide, was the only journalists who won two (2) awards out of seven (7) special prizes awarded to the international Journalists from all over the world for their immense contribution toward the defense of Human Rights at their various local and international levels.

These two special awards were BEST INVESTIGATIVE REPORT and the MOST COURAGEOUS REPORTER. The awards were presented to him by Lyse Doucet, a Senior Presenter and Correspondent with BBC World TV and World Service radio at the Every Human Has Right campaign celebration and Media Awards ceremony.

There was a big applause from the crowd including the Elders, when Jimmy Briggs, Chairman of the Jury mentioned Anas as the winner of the two special awards.

George Papagiannis, program specialist with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in his speech first of all congratulated Anas for his investigative skills and the impact the story had had on Ghanaians, Africans and for that matter the world as a whole.

The other five special awards were the BEST TV REPORT award which went to Michael Duffy from Channel 7 Network in Australia, the BEST RADIO REPORT, given to Rodrigo Tornero from FM La Tribu in Argentina, and Mario Magalhaes and Joel Silva from Folha de Sao Paolo in Brazil won the BEST PRINT REPORT. The remaining two awards were the BEST BLOG / CITIZEN JOURNALISM REPORT which was won by Al Rabih Ould Edum from Mauritania and the PUBLIC VOTE FOR THE MOST REVEALING REPORT was also awarded to Ben Fundis, Clara Long and John Drew from United States .
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter called the award winners "a glorious parade of heroes.” Mary Robinson told the invited guest that, in dealing with human rights issues, "Journalists are an incredible way of carrying the message”.

The ceremony was attended by great personalities like Manana Aslamazyan, Executive Director of Internews Europe, Ingrid Srinath, Secretary General of Civicus: World Alliance for Citizen Participation. Others include Ramesh Singh, C.E.O. of Action Aid International, Kumi Naidoo, Co-Chair of Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP). The awards were sponsored by The Elders, a group of senior statesmen put together by Nelson Mandela and bankrolled by musician Peter Gabriel and British mogul Richard Branson.

At a reception, Kofi Annan in a chat with Mary Akuffo, congratulated the Crusading Guide and its team of crack investigators for a job well done, urging them to do more of such great human right stories.

Internews received over 500 entries, with stories focusing on 108 countries; national, regional, and international juries selected 30 stories to receive the Internews 'Every Human has Rights' Media Award. Winning journalists received an all-expenses paid trip to Paris to cover the 60th anniversary events.

Musician Peter Gabriel and businessman Richard Branson, who together conceived the idea of the Elders, and journalist and author Mariane Pearl, who served on the international jury for the media awards were present to grace the occasion.

By Mary Fianko Akuffo (Paris, France)

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