Announcing the winners of the 2021 UNCA Awards
The United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) awarded the winners of the 25th annual UNCA Awards for best print, broadcast and online media coverage of the United Nations on Wednesday, December 8th at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York with guest of honor United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
The Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize
for coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic
sponsored by The Alexander Bodini Foundation
Elizabeth Neuffer, the Boston Globe bureau chief at the United Nations, died while on assignment in Baghdad in 2003. She was a model journalist who proved throughout her career that objectivity does not have to mean neutrality. She was passionate, courageous and compassionate, drawing attention to the forgotten places in the world and to the overlooked victims of war. She explored the forces that can ignite fratricidal and genocidal conflict and her work helped inspire the movement that led to the creation of the International Criminal Court. Personally, her colleagues in UNCA treasure her for her inveterate good humour, which counterbalanced her deadly serious explorations of the darker sides of modern history.
The Elizabeth Neuffer memorial prize is for print (including online media) and broadcast media (TV & Radio).
Neuffer Gold Medal Recipient:
The New Humanitarian
Eric Reidy, is a journalist and the Migration Editor-at-large for The New Humanitarian who has reported extensively on migration in the Mediterranean and North America. He has provided a thorough picture of the pandemic’s impact on many countries, in particular India and Bangladesh. These two populous nations were, like many countries, caught unprepared when the virus arrived. He reported how governments scrambled to manufacture their own vaccines, but faced bans on exports of raw materials. Their efforts were deterred by inequality in vaccine distribution and hoarding in rich countries. UN teams dispatched to assist refugees, including those in Rohingya camps in Bangladesh, faced similar frustration from the lack of medical assistance and drugs to treat Covid-19 cases, leading them to wonder whether inequality and poverty killed more people than the virus.
Eric’s Winning Stories
About the devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections in the Balukhali Rohingya refugee camp, Bangladeshesh… Read Story
About how the pandemic has affected refugees, asylum seekers, and migration… Read Story
Coronavirus: A window of opportunity for action on migration? Read Story
Due to policies put in place during the pandemic by the Trump administration, more than 40,000 people have been expelled from the United States after crossing the US-Mexico border and over 30,000 more asylum seekers are living in limbo in often dangerous situations in northern Mexico… Read Story
At least three in four countries – home to 91 percent of the global population – have imposed partial or complete border closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and roughly one in two human beings is living under lockdown as governments try to slow the spread of the virus… Read Story
Neuffer Silver Medal Recipient
Sibi Arasu, an independent journalist reporting exclusively on issues related to the environment and climate change. He has written a comprehensive, eye-opening account of the impact of the second-wave of the pandemic on rural India. Sibi reveals the marked discrepancy between second-wave infection levels in large cities, where rates improved, and the sharp increase in infections in rural areas, where two-thirds of the Indian population reside and record-keeping is poor. In a multi-faceted analysis, he attributes the precipitous increase to a combination of a lack of access to healthcare, misdiagnosis, pandemic denials and social stigma.
Sibi’s Winning Stories
Climate change is forcing Indians to migrate far from home… Read Story
In this Indian fishing community, radio is saving lives and livelihoods… Read Story
In The Hot Seat: India’s Invisible Climate Crisis… Read Story
Illegal logging is driving the loss of forest that poses the biggest threat to rare hornbill species in the Eastern Himalayan forests of India’s Arunachal Pradesh state. Read Story
See how rural India has been overrun by the pandemic’s second wave.
Sparse healthcare. Social stigma. Undercounted deaths. The consequences for the country’s rural populations will likely play out for years to come. Read Story
Neuffer Bronze Medal Recipient
Equal Times & In These Times
Maurizio Guerrero, a journalist from Mexico, has been covering international affairs and the United Nations for the past 12 years. His reports depict how the armed forces in some Latin American countries were assigned to assist civilians stricken by Covid-19, delivering food and treating infected people in hospitals. But while carrying out humanitarian work, the military also used brute force to repress the opposition and poor workers, raising fears that governments in the region may use the military to shore-up their legitimacy.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco & UNCA Global Prize
for coverage of Climate Change
Since His accession to the Throne in 2005, Prince Albert II of Monaco has made sustainable development His priority. Through His personal leadership, he has committed to promote the well-being of vulnerable communities and the sustainable and equitable management of natural resources.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco & UNCA Global Prize is for print (including online media) and broadcast media (TV & Radio).
Prince Albert Gold Medal Recipient:
Next Generation Media Ltd
Patrick Mayoyo is a Kenyan investigative reporter and environmental enthusiast. His submission consists of important and complex environmental stories: how Kenyan villagers are using carbon credits and indigenous knowledge to fight the effects of climate change; and the environmental impact of the shift in Tectonic plates linked to rising water levels in the Rift Valley lakes region of Africa. His stories highlight deforestation and the destruction of the Mau Forest ecosystem as a major contributor to massive flooding. Mayoyo’s work is characterized by a combination of vivid on-the-ground reporting, supplemented by relevant scientific analysis and UN reports.
Prince Albert Silver Medal Recipient:
PassBlue & Geneva Solutions
Stephanie Fillion, a Canadian journalist specializing in international affairs and based at the UN. Her reporting dealt with ways in which the Security Council addressed the issue of climate change. One of the articles consisted of an astute analysis of the political factors impacting the Security Council agenda regarding climate change. The other considered the critical need of the Security Council to prepare to address “climate-induced wars-conflicts” caused by the impact of climate change.
Prince Albert Bronze Medal Recipient:
Sara Manisera is an independent reporter, writer and producer working in the middle east and Italy. She wins the prize on behalf of her talented team that include her editor, producer, video-photographer and translator, all of whom have done a remarkable documentary on “Iraq without water: a journey on the water from Mosul to Basra.” The documentary detailed the tragic fate of water in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, the cradle of all civilization. It indicates the consequences of climate change, especially the impact of droughts and emphasizes the political and economic factors that play an important role in the overall situation in the region.
Sara‘s Winning Stories
Iraq, the country of rivers, is losing its water resources. The water crisis is complex, with with multiple causes and the potential for future conflicts. A group of young Iraqi activists are trying to raise public awareness of the issue… Read Story
Since October 2019 the youth of Bagdad have been protesting in the streets. The government’s response has been brutal suppression with thousands injured and a death toll in the hundreds. Read Story
The Ricardo Ortega Memorial Prize
for coverage of the United Nations, UN agencies and field operations
Sponsored by the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Ricardo Ortega, formerly the New York correspondent for Antena 3 TV of Spain, was one of the leading Spanish journalists of his generation. His determination to bear witness first hand to what was happening around the world took him to dozens of countries. His war reporting from Afghani- stan, Chechnya, Yugoslavia and Georgia was especially notable and he had a reputation for honesty, independence, determination and courage shown, for example, by his skeptical coverage of the evidence for Iraqi WMD’s presented to UN. He was killed by gunfire while covering Haiti on March 2004.
Ortega Gold Medal Recipient:
Stephanie Maupas, a freelance journalist working for the French Daily Le Monde and other media, reports on international justice issues and has published around 1000 articles on the work of UN tribunals since 1997. In her winning 2021 UNCA Awards entry, Stephanie followed the work of a little-known UN operation in Baghdad, where a high-tech UN specialized team uses all available tools to expose and document the evidence of Jihadist mass crimes committed in Iraq between 2014 and 2017, when the so-called Islamic State was trying to exist as a real state.
Stephanie’s Winning Stories
En Irak, les enquêteurs de l’ONU sur les traces des crimes de masse de l’organisation Etat islamique. (en français) lire l’histoire
Ortega Silver Medal Recipient:
Al Jazeera English
James Bays covers global diplomacy, defense, and development issues and is based in New York. In his 2021 winning entry, James described how he traveled with a UN convoy through Afghanistan and especially the Bamiyan region after the Taliban takeover. He met Afghans fleeing their homes and villages in search of survival, food and security. James witnessed thousands of internally displaced Afghans arriving in Bamiyan following intense fighting in surrounding provinces in July 2021. More than 300,000 Afghans were displaced by fighting across Afghanistan.
James’ Winning Stories
Thousands flee to Bamiyan as Taliban surges in Afghanistan… Watch on YouTube
First ever UN Secretary General debate… Watch on YouTube
UN’s Guterres We have 12 years to save Earth | Planet SOS… Watch on YouTube
Michelle Bachelet Interview: “External Khashoggi investigation needed”. Listen Here
Ortega Bronze Medal Recipient:
Press Trust of India
Uzmi Athar, a senior reporter at India’s main news agency, provides in-depth coverage of the pandemic’s impacts on diverse layers of society in a huge country caught unprepared by the fast-spreading virus. She interviewed Indian government officials, as well as international organizations involved in the struggle to contain the pandemic. The advice given by these officials helped local authorities to improve mid-day meals for school children, understand the links between malnutrition and diseases, and train local health workers to deliver life-saving vaccines to children in remote areas.
Uzmi’s Winning Stories
Locals, health workers brave tough terrain to deliver life saving vaccines for children… Read Story
Covid pandemic result of degradation of natural areas, species’ loss, exploitation: UNEP India… Read Story
Adopting COVID-19 appropriate behaviour best way to stop transmission of virus its variants WHO… Read Story
Introducing fortified staples, more ration can help kids who missed mid-day meals in lockdown:UN WFP… Read Story
Nobel win will further strengthen cooperation with India: WFP… Read Story
All Bios are provided by the winning journalists themselves
Valeria Robecco (UNCA President), Giampaolo Pioli (Awards Chairman), Tuyet Nguyen (Awards Selections Coordinator) Sherwin Bryce-Pease (UNCA Executive Member) Edith Lederer (UNCA Executive Member) Linda Fasulo (UNCA Executive Member)