The prestigious Bayeux War Correspondents’ Awards on Saturday honoured European television channel Arte, the Washington Post and the BBC for reports from conflict zones ranging from Syria to Afghanistan.
Instituted in 1994, the Bayeux Calvados-Normandy Awards have honoured exceptional reporting on war and unrest.
The choice of Bayeux is significant as it was the first town to be liberated by the Allied forces during World War II.
“The Prix Bayeux is the epicentre, the centre of gravity of our profession,” said award-winning British journalist Ed Vulliamy, who presided over the 2020 jury.
“What is wonderful about the deliberations of the jury is that there is no right or wrong: we have to make a judgement but it is impossible by definition. We are choosing between best and better.”
The others picking up top awards were Radio France-Internationale and German agency DPA.
The Grand Format Television Trophy went to Arte for its report “Syria: Trapped in Idlib” by Suzanne Allant, Yamaan Khatib and Fadi Al-Halabi on some four million civilians trapped in a northern rebel bastion and facing attacks from Syrian government troops and their Russian allies.
Vulliamy told AFP it was a report through the eyes of a Syrian who has returned home.
“He speaks for hundreds of millions of people around who do not know if they are going to see their family ... if the house is there...”
The Television Trophy was awarded to the BBC for a report by John Sudworth and Wang Xiping on ethnic Uighur Muslims in China.
The Chinese region of Xinjiang is home to millions of Uighurs who have lived there for decades.
Rights groups say hundreds of thousands have been detained in camps without trial, but China argues they voluntarily attend centres which combat “extremism”.
Vulliamy told AFP: “It’s China. The worst of capitalism.
“It’s the abomination of the separation of children from parents ... (the) eradication of indigenous people along with nature abuse.”
For photos, the prize went to the Washington Post for “The longest war”—a reportage on the Taliban in Afghanistan by Lorenzo Tugnoli from the Italian agency Contrasto.
In text, Allan Kaval of French daily Le Monde was honoured for his report on “The slow deaths of jihadist prisoners in northeastern Syria.”
In radio, Radio France International’s Sonia Ghezali and Wahlah Shahzaib won the top prize for a report on a maternity centre run by medical charity MSF that was attacked.
The public choice award went to Anthony Wallace of Agence France-Presse for a photo reportage titled “Hong Kong: A Popular Revolt.” It also won the second jury prize.
Anas Alkharboutli from the German agency DPA won the Young Reporter Trophy for his work in Syria.
A total of 50 reports were in competition.