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Burma's journalists recognised at Amnesty Awards

Special award for journalism under threat went to the independent meida in Burma.

Journalism that highlights abuse of human rights was recognised last night at the 19th annual Amnesty International Media Awards.

This year the special award for journalism under threat went collectively to the independent media in Burma. It was collected by Daw Nita May, who works for the BBC Burmese Service and who is herself a former Amnesty Prisoner of Conscience.

According to Amnesty, 40 journalists are among Burma's 2,200 political prisoners.

Amnesty International UK director Kate Allen said: "Journalism is all too often a perilous pursuit and perceived as a threat by authorities. Independent journalism is very important for the people of Burma, both as an avenue in which to express their opinions, but also as a vital source of information. Independent news on the upcoming elections process is vital in keeping the world's attention focused on Burma in what is going to be a critical year"

The Gaby Rado Memorial Award, made to a journalist covering human rights for less than five years, went to Somali journalist Jamal Osman of Channel Four. His work included an investigation into aid stolen from Somali refugees and a piece entitled: "Somalia, the 'new Pakistan'?".

The full list of winners announced at the British Film Insitute last night were:

GABY RADO MEMORIAL AWARD: Jamal Osman, Channel 4 News

INTERNATIONAL TELEVISION & RADIO: People and Power: Ingushetia - A Second Chechnya?, Al Jazeera - Antony Butts, Dom Rotheroe, Mike Chamberlain

NATIONS & REGIONS: Discrimination: Migrant Workers Rental Block, BBC Look North - Guy Lynn, Mark Hayman, David Weller

NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS: The Dark Side of Dubai, The Independent - Johann Hari

DIGITAL MEDIA: Chinese Petitioners, Financial Times - Jamil Anderlini, Edward Cheng

PERIODICALS - CONSUMER MAGAZINES: Congo: The Horror, GQ - Ed Caesar, Susan Schulman

PERIODICALS - NEWSPAPER SUPPLEMENTS: The Return of the Bloody Diamonds, Live Magazine - Dan McDougall, Robin Hammond

PHOTOJOURNALISM: Toxic Jeans, Sunday Times - Robin Hammond

RADIO: Zimbabwe: What Mugabe Didn't Tell Us, BBC Radio 4 - Today Programme - Mike Thomson, Edward Prendeville, Ceri Thomas

TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY & DOCUDRAMA: Burma VJ, More 4 / Magic Hour Films (JOINT WINNER) - Lise-Lense Moller, Anders Ostergaard/ Dispatches: Afghanistan's Dirty War, Channel 4 / October Films (JOINT WINNER) - Tom Roberts, Peter Lindley, Najibullah Razaq

TELEVISION NEWS: The End of Sri Lanka's War, Channel 4 News / ITN - Jonathan Miller, Nick Paton Walsh, Nevine Mabro, Bessie Du, Matt Jasper, Ben de Pear

Dominic Ponsford is editor of the Press Gazette.

Dominic Ponsford is editor of Press Gazette

Photo: Getty Images
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It's time for the government to think again about Hinkley Point

The government's new nuclear power station is a white elephant that we simply don't need.

Today I will welcome Denis Baupin, Vice President of the French Assembly, to Hinkley.

His own choice to come and visit the site of the proposed new nuclear power station reflects his strong desire to prevent the UK disappearing up a dangerous dark alley in terms of energy policy. It also takes place as France takes a totally different path, with the French government recently adopting a law which will reduce nuclear energy in the country.

Greens have opposed Hinkley ever since the government announced its nuclear strategy. Hinkley, with its state aid and an agreed strike price of £92.50 per megawatt, has always been financially and legally suspect but it is now reaching the level of farce. So much so that George Osborne is required to be economical with the truth in front of a House of Lords committee because he cannot find anything honest to say about why this is a good deal for the British people.

Mr Baupin and I will join hundreds of protestors – and a white elephant – to stand in solidarity against this terrible project. The demonstration is taking place under a banner of the triple risks of Hinkley. 

First, there are the safety and technological risks. It is clear that the Pressurised Water nuclear reactor (EPR) – the design proposed for Hinkley C – simply does not work. France’s nuclear safety watchdog has found multiple malfunctioning valves that could cause meltdown, in a similar scenario to the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the US.  The steel reactor vessel, which houses the plant’s nuclear fuel and confines its radioactivity, was also found to have serious anomalies that increase the risk of it cracking. Apart from the obvious safety risks, the problems experienced by the EPR reactors being built at Flammanvile in France and Olkiluoto in Finland have pushed the projects years behind schedule.

Secondly, Hinkley poses risks to our energy security. Hinkley is supposed to produce 7% of the UK's energy. But we now know there will be no electricity from the new nuclear plant until at least 2023. This makes power blackouts over the next decade increasingly likely and the only way to avoid them is to rapidly invest in renewable energy, particularly onshore wind. Earlier this week Bloomberg produced a report showing that onshore wind is now the cheapest way to generate electricity in both the UK and Germany. But instead of supporting onshore wind this government is undermining it by attacking subsidies to renewables and destroying jobs in the sector. 

Thirdly, there is the risk of Chinese finance. In a globalised world we are expected to consider the option of allowing foreign companies and governments to control our essential infrastructure. But it is clear that in bequeathing our infrastructure we lose the political control that strengthens our security. The Chinese companies who will be part of the deal are part owned by the Chinese government and therefore controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. What a toppy-turvy world globalisation has created, where our Conservative British government is inviting the Chinese Communist party to control our energy infrastructure. It also seems that China National Nuclear Company is responsible for the manufacture of Chinese nuclear weapons.

Of course it is the Chinese people who suffer most, being at the hands of an oppressive government and uncontrolled companies which show little respect for employment rights or environmental standards. By offering money to such companies from British consumers through their energy bills our government is forcing us to collude in the low human rights and environmental standards seen in China.  

Research I commissioned earlier this year concluded we can transform the South West, not with nuclear, but with renewables. We can generate 100 per cent of our energy needs from renewables within the next 20-30 years and create 122,000 new quality jobs and boost the regional economy by over £4bn a year.

The white elephant of Hinkley looks increasingly shaky on its feet. Only the government’s deeply risky ideological crusade against renewables and in favour of nuclear keeps it standing. It’s time for it to fall and for communities in the South West to create in its place a renewable energy revolution, which will lead to our own Western Powerhouse. 

Molly Scott Cato is Green MEP for the southwest of England, elected in May 2014. She has published widely, particularly on issues related to green economics. Molly was formerly Professor of Strategy and Sustainability at the University of Roehampton.