77TH OPC Awards Recognize International Reporting Excellence Amid More Hostile Climate for Journalists; Winners Cited For Stories On Slave Labor, Refugees, ISIS and Corruption
David Fanning, Founder and Former Executive Producer of PBS Investigative Series FRONTLINE Receives President’s Award;
Jason Rezaian, Former Tehran Bureau Chief of The Washington Post Lights Press Freedom Candle in Memory of journalists Killed, Imprisoned or Missing in Action
NEW YORK, April 28, 2016 — The 22 award-winning entries for the annual Overseas Press Club (OPC) Awards highlight the increasing hazards facing foreign correspondents around the world. The Associated Press, the Center for Public Integrity Foreign Policy, FRONTLINE, Reuters and The New York Times won multiple awards; The Associated Press won two awards for its story, “Seafood from Slaves.”
While the award-winning stories reflect themes of conflict, corruption and disaster, they also show how, in a hyper-connected world, these dangers spill over and quickly present global perils. Journalists covering these events now face a more hazardous climate with a growing number of limitations to free speech across the globe.
“Our jobs have become more dangerous and harder to come as our profession faces economic and technological change,” says Marcus Mabry, president of the Overseas Press Club of America and the managing editor of Twitter Moments. “We gather tonight not to bemoan this reality, but to confront it. Our role as journalists is to bear witness, and ensure that suffering is not in silence, injustice is not unknown.”
As part of confronting this new reality, the OPC joined last year with the Frontline Freelance Register, Reporters Without Borders, the Committee to Protect Journalists, DART, other advocacy groups and 90 news organizations to sign the Global Safety Principles and Practices for protecting freelancers in dangerous overseas assignments.
Kai Ryssdal, host and senior editor of American Public Radio’s Marketplace,” will emcee the awards night, with the OPC honoring David Fanning, founder and executive producer at large of FRONTLINE, with the President’s Award. Jason Rezaian, journalist and former Tehran bureau chief for The Washington Post, who was released from Iran in January after more than 18 months in jail, will light the press freedom candle in memory of journalists who have died in the line of duty in the past year and in honor of those imprisoned or missing.
Bassam Khabieh, international photojournalist with Reuters, will receive The Robert Capa Gold Medal Award, which honors the best photographic reporting from abroad requiring exceptional courage and enterprise. Mr. Khabieh is being honored for “Field Hospital Damascus,” with images that put into perspective the tremendous danger and difficulties facing journalists in Syria today.
There were 486 entries in this year’s competition.