HR Reporting Prize

HR Prize

Journalism Prize for Human Rights Reporting

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Free Media Movement (FMM) are proud to announce the launch of the Journalism Prize for Human Rights Reporting in Colombo.

The prize, supported by the European Commission, will establish an annual competition among media from across Sri Lanka and will set benchmarks for excellence in reporting that combats human rights violations and promotes deeper understanding and harmony.

The IFJ and FMM firmly believe that a free and independent media is essential for the development of democracy and promotion of human rights. The Journalism Prize for Human Rights Reporting will promote high standards of professionalism and journalists’ ethics, diversity in media, and editorial independence.

The prize recognises the important contribution journalists make to the empowerment of civil society through reporting on the most disadvantaged groups in society. In writing about the most vulnerable minority groups in Sri Lanka, journalists play a vital role in giving a voice to the disenfranchised who would otherwise not be heard.

The IFJ encourages all Sri Lankan journalists and media organisations to enter their best journalism on human rights issues when the competition opens in May 2008.

The prize will strengthen a regional network of journalists’ organisations and build a cadre of journalists committed to promoting human rights. Not only will the prize promote skills and examples of good journalistic practice on how to report on human rights and diversity, but it will also encourage journalists to be more involved in advocating human rights.

The objectives are:

  • Improved respect for human rights in Sri Lanka, especially for the most vulnerable groups in society including children, women and disabled and elderly people.
  • Promote understanding and raise awareness of human rights in Sri Lanka by supporting improved media reporting of human rights and to promote the rights of vulnerable groups by encouraging, advocating, and supporting ethical, unbiased, fair and accurate journalism, and enhancing the professional standards of journalism in the coverage of minority affairs in this region.
  • There is a particular focus on women and children.
  • To increase standards and improve media coverage of human rights issues, particularly in relation to child rights, gender rights, human trafficking and sexual exploitation of children and minority rights generally.
  • To improve journalists’ ability to act as watchdogs and monitors of human rights abuses.
  • To improve the status of women journalists in the media profession.
  • The award program and the regional and national forums will encourage improved human rights reporting in Sri Lanka, and there will be a greater understanding of these issues in the Sri Lankan public.

Call for Entries
Entries will open on May 1 2008, and will close on August 1 2008. Work published or broadcast between August 1 2007 and July 31 2008 will be eligible. Entries from all media, including print, television, radio and online, will be accepted.

There will be five regional prize giving events, and a final National Prize Ceremony and Forum to award a national prize and to discuss Human Rights Reporting in Sri Lanka. Prize-winners will receive cash prizes and certificates, and prize-winning stories will be published in the annual Prize Report.

The cash prizes will be:

  • Regional Prize (5 winners): €200
  • National Prize (1 winner): €1000

The authors of the best works will also be invited to participate in further IFJ regional programmes.

Entries will be accepted in five regional categories:

  • North, North East, Ampara, Batticloa Trincomalee, Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Killinochchi, Mullaitivu
  • North Central & North West – Anuradapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunagala, Putlam
  • UVA & South – Badulla, Monaragala , Galle, Mathara, Hambabantota and Kaluthara
  • Central &Sabaragamuwa -, Kandy, Nuwaraeliya, Mathale, Gampaha, Rathnapura, Kegalla
  • Western – Colombo district only

North and North East is the conflict zone where most of the Hr violations take place,
Under Western province only Colombo district is kept because all national media is located there, with more than 2000 journalists

Two other districts of Western province, Gampaha and Kaluthara has been grouped with South and North West respectively

A Prize Committee will be created to oversee the implementation of the program and its effectiveness. The Committee will then appoint a Prize Jury comprised of distinguished journalists and experts reflecting different language and media backgrounds. Judging will take place in each region.

Judging Criteria

The award winners will be chosen on the basis of journalistic excellence in human rights reporting. The judges will be looking for journalism that:

  • Promotes the rights of women, children and other vulnerable or minority groups in society.
  • Is fair, accurate, balanced and honest.
  • Helps to build an understanding of the importance of protecting human rights, democracy and media freedom in the region.
  • Supports meaningful dialogue in society about reducing human rights violations.
  • Enhances the professional standards of journalism in the coverage of minority affairs in the region.

Other general criteria include:

  • newsworthiness
  • research
  • writing
  • production
  • public benefit
  • impact
  • ethics
  • originality
  • innovation
  • creative flair
  • incisiveness

The Journalism Prize for Human Rights Reporting will foster a culture that will support the media, helping them report accurately and responsibly on human rights and to act as the “watchdog” for a democratic society.

The Prize will foster improved respect for human rights in Sri Lanka, especially for the most vulnerable groups in society including children, women and disabled and elderly people, and will encourage journalists in the Sri Lanka to be more involved in advocating for human rights.

Now is a crucial time for human rights and democracy in Sri Lanka. This Prize will celebrate the brave work of journalists across Sri Lanka.

A Journalism Prize for Human Rights Reporting website will be launched soon.

If you have any queries, or for more information, contact:

IFJ Asia Pacific


For more information, read the leaflet on the prize programme here and download the full colour brochure for the prize programme here.

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