Established in memory of independent war correspondent Khaled Alkhateb, RT's Khaled Alkhateb Memorial Awards

Winners 2018

Best Journalism from a Conflict Zone: written

Best Journalism from a Conflict Zone: written
Special dispatch from inside Syria
Jason O'Brien, Ireland

Special Dispatch from Inside Syria (Syria): After seven years of bloodshed, the ongoing civil war in Syria is this century's deadliest. The defeat of the Islamic State didn't end it but, along with the lifting of the siege in Aleppo, it marked a significant turning point. In this piece, Jason traveled to Aleppo to talk to people, mainly women, who have somehow maintained a semblance of normal life for their besieged families during almost non-stop bombing. Elsewhere, he examines the reality of communities trying to rebuild amid the horrific divisions inflicted under IS.

Jason O'Brien is a multiple award winning foreign affairs reporter. He is currently a reporter for the Irish Independent newspaper in Ireland, and editor of He has reported from around the world on a vast array of issues including - but not limited to – the wars in Syria, South Sudan and Lebanon, medical crises in the developing world from Haiti to Sierra Leone, and natural disasters in Haiti and Nepal.

Best VIDEO Journalism from a Conflict Zone: LONG FORM

Best VIDEO Journalism from a Conflict Zone: LONG FORM
Get Real: Escape from Marawi
Anna Karenina Tolentino, Singapore

Get Real: Escape from Marawi (Philippines): On May 23, 2017, ISIS affiliated terrorists wrestled control of Marawi, the biggest Islamic city in the Southern Philippines. Escape from Marawi gives a comprehensive account of why the city fell and the fallout that ensued. Through mobile phone videos, taken by the Philippine Military, the Suicide Squad (team of civilian volunteers), and the residents themselves, this program highlights the threat of terrorism that has become too real to ignore, as well as the scars that will stay for generations to come.

Anna Karenina Tolentino is a young journalist, having begun her career just six years ago at Channel NewsAsia. A native Filipino, she’s covered numerous stories in the country, including child soldiers in Mindanao and assassins who kill for a living during elections. She considers “Escape from Marawi” her best work, as it allowed her to tackle an ongoing conflict close to home. This year, she produced Voices against Violence - a documentary on sexual harassment in South Korea, which aired just as the #MeToo campaign was gaining steam.

Best VIDEO Journalism from a Conflict Zone: SHORT FORM

Best VIDEO Journalism from a Conflict Zone: SHORT FORM
ISIS Children
Asaad Al-Zalzalee, Iraq

ISIS Children (Iraq): This piece examines the fate of the children and families of ISIS militants following the expulsion of the terrorist organization by Iraqi forces. The family members who have remained in the country are detained in camps where they are denied access to the outside world, and children are denied access to education, health and nutrition.

Asaad Zalzali currently works as a correspondent for Beladi TV, an Iraqi news satellite channel, and as an investigative reporter for the ARIJ (Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalism) Press Network. Asaad began his career in journalism in 2004 and is now a multiple award winning journalist, including a two-time winner of the Samir Kassir Award for Freedom of the Press. He holds two degrees—one in media and one in engineering .

Khaled became a war reporter not because he wanted to make a career, earn more money, or even because of his dedication to his profession, but because he loved his homeland, and he loved the truth... We will award the prize to resilient, courageous war correspondents, whose work, which endangers their lives, and demands unparalleled selflessness, helps — whether this year, a year or a decade down the line — to shed light on the horrors that war brings to a land. Margarita Simonyan, RT Editor-in-Chief

About the award

Established in memory of independent war correspondent Khaled Alkhateb, RT’s Khaled Alkhateb Memorial Awards for Best Journalism from a Conflict Zone honor the brave work of those media professionals and organizations who strive to shed light on the complexities and ramifications of continuous war and armed conflict... Through their journalistic efforts, these reporters and professionals provide a better understanding of the harsh realities endured by those areas currently suffering in the hope that, with the help of this knowledge, peace is possible. With this award, RT aims to honor and commemorate the crucial work of today’s fearless war correspondents. Incidentally, “Khaled Alkahateb” means “immortal orator” in Arabic, and we hope that these awards will keep alive not just Khaled’s name, but his life’s work, so symbolically embodied by it.

Khaled Alkhateb was working for RT Arabic as a freelance correspondent when he was killed by an ISIS shell in the eastern suburb of Homs, Syria on July 30th 2017. At just 25 years old, Khaled was already a well-known local journalist when he began freelancing for RT in April 2017. At the time of his death, he had been reporting on the efforts to defeat the terrorist group Islamic State. Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 100 journalists, including Khaled, have died while reporting from the area of the conflict. In honor of Khaled’s memory — and of all those who risk their lives out of commitment to truth as a conduit for peace — these awards were established by RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.

RT is a global, award-winning TV news network that broadcasts 24/7 and covers stories overlooked by the mainstream media while providing alternative perspectives on current affairs and acquainting audiences with a Russian viewpoint.
Honoring today's fearless war correspondents. Submit and be a part of the conversation. Draw attention to the world's most pressing conflicts.


Best video Journalism from a Conflict Zone

Short form
Any news report, news feature, or continuing news coverage with a total running time of 15 minutes or less.

Best video Journalism from a Conflict Zone

Long form
Any news report, news feature, or continuing news coverage with a total running time longer than 15 minutes.

Best Written journalism from a Conflict Zone

Any news report, news feature, or continuing news coverage (maximum 5 articles on one theme/conflict) totaling 10,000 words or less published in print or online media, including independent journalism platforms.
* Each applicant is eligible to submit one entry in each of the three categories

Eligibility Requirements*

1.Works must have been filmed in or written while reporting from a conflict zone

A conflict zone is defined as an area currently experiencing continuous armed confrontation between two or more groups of people. It often involves governmental armed forces and private armed groups. According to the UN, a conflict zone has some or all of the following characteristics:

  • humanitarian suffering on an enormous scale
  • numerous armed factions
  • collapse of the civil infrastructure
  • absence of governance and legal system
  • absence of individual security
  • possibility of ethnic cleansing and genocide
  • large numbers of displaced civilians and refugees
  • unchallenged criminal activities

For reference, here is a map of the current conflict zone areas according to IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks), a news agency providing independent analysis from hotspots in more than 70 countries. IRIN was originally founded as part of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Please note, for the sake of these awards, to be defined as a conflict zone, the area must be facing a continuously reoccurring armed conflict.

2.The video or written piece must have been published on a media platform or by a media organization between 1st of January 2017 and 1st of May 2018

3.Applications are accepted in any language from any country

This includes works by freelancers, alternative media, and independent journalism platforms.

4.All written works must be submitted with an English translation, and all video entries should have English subtitles

The language should be appropriate for the general public audience, meaning inappropriate language should be removed or made inaudible. For more information on English translation, see Technical Requirements.

5.Submissions that were the result of a collaborative effort — either written or video — should include the names of the contributors with their respective titles

Submissions should then be made under the name(s) of one or two persons who, if the work is selected as a winner, will accept the award.
Please note, freelancers who have submittered their work to RT must demonstrate that they have freelanced for other sites, platforms, or organizations to be eligible. In addition, works submitted to RT — whether published or not — are not eligible. No preferential treatment will be given whatsoever to those who have worked with RT in any form in the past.

Judging Criteria

All submitted works will be judged on their informational value, accuracy, and contribution to the overall understanding of the conflict being discussed.

Technical Requirements


  • Videos must be directly uploaded through the application system.
  • File size should not exceed 1 GB, even if the video is longer than 15 minutes.
  • If the original language is not English, English subtitles should be added to the original video with accurate timing. Any profanity should be made inaudible.
  • In addition to subtitles, a separate document with the video script — in the original language and in translated English — should be submitted in Word format.
  • A YouTube link to the video should be provided. If the video has not yet been uploaded to the YouTube platform, please do so before submitting your application.
  • When uploading your video to the YouTube platform, please be sure it meets the technical requirements specified HERE: Container Format: MP4, Video Codec: H.264, Audio Codec: AAC, Frames per Second (FPS): 25, 30, Video Resolution: 720p, Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9, Bitrate: 5 Mbps, Stereo Audio Bitrate: 384 kbps, Audio Bitrate (5.1): 512 kbps


  • Written works should be submitted as a Word document.
  • If the original is not in English, an additional translated version of the piece should be submitted in Word format.
  • Submissions — whether a stand-alone piece or a compilation — cannot exceed 10,000 words.
  • If the piece is part of a continuing news story, a compilation of up to five stories can be submitted. To be considered a continuing news story, the series of reports must cover the same topic