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 Independent.ie. 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.
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.
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 .
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.
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:
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.