2024 Human Rights Press Awards recognize report on suicide among Afghan women

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Human Rights Press Awards in Asia, marking World Press Freedom Day, announced its 2024 winners and runners-up on Thursday. The awards, managed by Human Rights Watch, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and the foreign correspondents’ clubs of Thailand and Taiwan, recognize outstanding journalism in seven categories.

Top honors went to reports on the increasing suicides among Afghan women under oppressive Taliban rule, the persecution of religious minorities in Myanmar, and the Chinese government’s response to White Paper protesters during Covid-19 lockdowns.

“The Human Rights Press Awards celebrate journalists tackling some of Asia’s most urgent rights issues,” said Tirana Hassan, executive director at Human Rights Watch. “With authoritarianism on the rise, the need for journalists to expose the truth is paramount.”

The awards ceremony is scheduled for May 10 in Taipei, hosted by the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents’ Club.

Dr. Battinto L. Batts, Jr., dean of the Walter Cronkite School, emphasized the importance of recognizing human rights journalism as part of the school’s Cronkite Global Initiatives. Thompson Chau, president of the Taiwan Foreign Correspondents’ Club, noted the significance of award-winning journalism from challenging environments like Afghanistan, Hong Kong, and Myanmar.

Frontier Myanmar and Zan Times won the inaugural “Newsroom in Exile” category for their coverage of Myanmar and Afghanistan, respectively. Frontier Myanmar highlighted the oppression of the Bayingyi, Roman Catholics of Portuguese descent, while Zan Times reported on Afghan women and girls choosing death over life under Taliban rule.

Phil Robertson, chair of the program committee at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, stressed the importance of recognizing journalists reporting from exile.

Al Jazeera received the multimedia award for its coverage of the perilous route Pakistani men take to Europe, and The Initium won for investigative reporting in Chinese on the anniversary of the White Paper Protest. The Guardian earned the investigative reporting prize in English for exposing the trafficking of Nepali workers in Saudi Arabia.

The ceremony will also honor reports on the Myanmar military’s airstrikes, abuses by Bangladesh’s elite police unit, challenges facing Hong Kong’s LGBT community, and a global private hospital group’s involvement in a kidney trafficking scandal.