12 Nov 2014

Channel 4 News wins Amnesty International Media Award

Channel 4 News has won an Amnesty International Media Award for its investigation into the world of Bucharest’s homeless underground society.

The team, including reporter Paraic O’Brien, cameraman Jim Wickens, fixer Radu Ciorniciuc and producer Job Rabkin, were given unprecedented access to the biggest network of tunnels beneath the streets of Romania’s capital.

The shocking film revealed diseased and destitute drugs addicts adorning the claustrophobic labyrinth of sewers and heating ducts accessed through manholes in the streets.

The scenes of unbelievable squalor, drug abuse, exploitation and forlorn prospect for so many revealed a stark contrast to the newest member of the European Union.

Editor Ben de Pear said: “Channel 4 News prides itself on getting under the skin of the news. Paraic, Jim, Radu and Job took this to new heights with their shocking investigation beneath the streets of Bucharest. Well-deserved recognition for a team who produced one of the most extraordinary pieces of television news.”

The impact of this film was immediate and widespread, viewed globally by over two million people online and the authorities vowed to take action.

The Amnesty Awards recognise excellence in human rights reports and acknowledge journalism’s significant contribution to public awareness of human rights issues.

Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK Director, said: “In a year where the perils of human rights reporting appear ever more evident, we want to congratulate the journalists who continue to bravely expose these issues.”

The awards ceremony took place at the BFI in London on Tuesday 11 November.

In a second award, film maker Marcel Mettelsiefen won the Gaby Rado Memorial Award for this films Dispatches: Children on the front line, and Unreported World: Dancing in the danger zone both of which were broadcast on Channel 4.