Inquirer bags 3 Sopa awards
The Philippine Daily Inquirer bagged three awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia (Sopa) during this year’s ceremonies in Hong Kong, including being recognized for the best news photograph of 2016 — Raffy Lerma’s “Lamentation,” depicting an alleged extrajudicial killing victim cradled by his weeping partner.
“The journalist captured a powerful emotional moment that depicts the human cost of the Philippines’ war on drugs,” the group’s judges said of the picture.
“This is an outstanding work of photojournalism not just for the impact of the harrowing image but for its ability to raise questions about a government’s controversial use of extrajudicial killings,” the judges added.
Sopa also gave an honorable mention to Inquirer Briefing in the excellence for information graphics category, in particular for its entry “China’s 21st Century Vision,” which the judges said contained “an impressive amount of information about a critical relationship for the Philippines.”
Now on its 19th year, the Sopa Awards for Editorial Excellence also recognized Inquirer business reporter Daxim Lucas with an honorable mention for breaking the story about the 2016 Bangladesh central bank heist.
The judges described that story as “probably one of the biggest Asian stories of 2016, detailing the brazen theft of tens of millions of dollars from Bangladesh’s account at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York through an old family-led bank and then to large casinos in the Philippines in just a matter of days.”
“The president of Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., through which the stolen funds entered the Philippines, eventually left his post, showing the story had an impact,” they added.
Lucas was also a finalist for Sopa’s journalist of the year award, which was won by Thomson Reuters’ Nita Bhalla who reported on child labor conditions in India.
All entries by local and international news organizations about the effects of President Duterte’s war on drugs won either awards for excellence or honorable mentions in their respective categories.
These included the New York Times getting an excellence in photography for Daniel Berehulak’s “They Are Slaughtering Us Like Animals,” which also received an honorable mention for reporting innovation, and Reuters which was also given an honorable mention for “Duterte’s War.”
Other Philippine media organizations recognized by Sopa were ABS-CBN Corp. and Rappler. ABS-CBN was awarded for excellence in human rights reporting with its piece titled “War on Drugs: The Unheard Voices.”
The same piece also gained an honorable mention in the excellence in investigative reporting category. Rappler, on the other hand received an excellence in feature writing award for Patricia Evangelista’s “In the Name of the Father” about the victims of the Duterte administration’s antidrug campaign.
The awards ceremony was addressed via video links form London by the former British Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten and by CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour.
Amanpour, in particular, posed questions about the role of the internet and social media in today’s news cycle, saying “we need to ask whether technology has finally outpaced our human ability to keep up? Whether the big online media giants—Facebook etc. are up to the job of keeping us honest and safe?”
“I feel that journalism faces an existential crisis—a threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession,” she said. “Now, more than ever, we need to commit to real reporting across a real world in which journalism and democracy are in mortal peril.”
The Sopa Awards for Editorial Excellence were established in 1999 as a tribute to editorial excellence in both traditional and new media, and were designed to encourage editorial vitality throughout the region.
The awards cover a broad range of categories reflecting Asia’s diverse geopolitical environment and vibrant editorial scene.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.