November 8, 2023
Excellence in campaigning and investigative journalism was honoured at the Society of Editors’ Media Freedom Awards 2023 on Wednesday 8 November 2023.
Held at the iconic Banking Hall in London, the high-profile awards, which set the benchmark for a celebration of UK public interest journalism, brought together more than 250 journalists from all sectors of the UK news media for a ceremony presented by ITV News’ Lucrezia Millarini and attended by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Lucy Frazer MP.
Held in association with Grove Gallery with support from Camelot, Newsworks, Cision, the Google News Initiative and Vodafone, the event saw Dame Esther Rantzen presented with an Outstanding Contribution to Journalism Award for a career dedicated to “supporting, uplifting and giving a voice to others”.
Other big winners on the night included the Telegraph which was crowned the National News Media Organisation of the Year as well as the National Investigation of the Year for its agenda-setting Lockdown Files investigation. Open-source platform Bellingcat was named the International News Media Organisation of the Year while Belfast-based Sunday Life was named the Regional News Media Organisation of the Year.
Announcing the winners Dawn Alford, Executive Director of the Society of Editors said: “The winners of the Media Freedom Awards 2023 highlight the outstanding scoops and investigations which have dominated the news agenda and effected real change over the past year. From agenda-setting exclusives to campaigns that will undoubtedly save lives, we are honoured to recognise and celebrate the vital work that the news media industry undertakes every day to hold power to account on behalf of the public.”
The Manchester Evening News was awarded the Regional Campaign of the Year for its Awaab’s Law campaign which followed the death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak who died after being exposed to rancid mould at his family’s social housing flat in Rochdale in 2020. Reporter Stephen Topping was also awarded the Regional Journalist of the Year for his perseverance in bringing the case to light as well as uncovering wider housing issues within the borough.
Nationally, Sky News saw Foreign Correspondent Stuart Ramsay recognised for his dispatches from Myanmar with the broadcaster also awarded the Innovation Award with Tortoise Media for its ambitious Westminster Accounts data project that allows users to see how money is used to lubricate the machinery of British politics.