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Journalist David Missal wins Human Rights Press award for HKFP video on rights lawyer Lin Qilei

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Journalist David Missal has won a Human Rights Press Award for a mini-documentary published by Hong Kong Free Press.

The University of Hong Kong (HKU) Master of Journalism student took home a prize in the Student Video & Audio (English) category on Thursday for a video about Chinese human rights lawyer Lin Qilei. Lin, who represented activists and religious practitioners, told Missal that he was “prepared to be imprisoned.”

David Missal

David Missal. Photo: HKU JMSC.

Chinese authorities refused to renew Missal’s student visa last year after he submitted the project for his master’s programme at Beijing’s prestigious Tsinghua University.

HKFP then shared his mini-documentary in full. He was later accepted onto a course at HKU’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre.

‘Risk their lives for justice’

During the ceremony at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Missal said he wanted “to understand how human rights defenders in China live, what they fear, what they dream of.”

He added that he had no resentment over his studies in Beijing being interrupted following the visa rejection: “A lot of people asked me: Do you regret to do this project? And my answer usually was: No. Because I had the chance to meet these very brave people who, every day, risk their own life for justice. People like Li Wenzu, Xie Yanyi or Lin Qilei.”

David Missal

David Missal (left). Photo: HKU JMSC.

“I hope, with this kind of work, with this kind of award, more people will be able to understand the situation of human rights defenders in China. And, most importantly, I hope it also will be some kind of protection for Lawyer Lin and all the others who are confronting the Chinese government with its faults.”

David Missal.

David Missal. Photo: Code Code/FCC.

Missal told HKFP that he may return to Germany after his studies and consider a career as a journalist, NGO worker or diplomat.

Other winners on Thursday included Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. They were honoured with an award for Best Investigative Feature Writing for their work on the military atrocities against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.

The winners in full - click to view.
Breaking News Writing (English)

Winner


China’s Crackdown on Student Labour Activists
Sue-Lin Wong and Christian Shepherd of Reuters

Merit


Forced Labour in Xinjiang
Emily Feng of Financial Times

On the Eve of Freedom, A Glimpse Inside Liu Xia’s Flat
Becky Davis of AFP

Investigative Feature Writing (English)

Winner


Myanmar Burning
Wa Lone, Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues of Reuters

Merit


A Chronicle of the Crime Fiction that is Adityanath’s Encounter Raj
Neha Dixit of The Wire

Conflict, Conscription and a Cover-up: The Killing of Six TNLA Medics
Clare Hammond, Victoria Milko and Kyaw Lin Htoon of Frontier Myanmar

Explanatory Feature Writing (English)

Winner


Tracking China’s Muslim Gulag
Philip Wen, Olzhas Auyezov, Thomas Peter, Christian Inton and Simon Scarr of Reuters

Merit


Template for Hate
Rohini Mohan of Harper’s Magazine

Sum of Her Parts: Why are the Majority of Living Organ Donors in India Women?
Sohini Chattopadhyay of The Hindu (India) and The New York Times

Commentary Writing (English)

Winner


Why Singapore’s Moves to Curb ‘Fake News’ May Backfire
Kirsten Han

Merit


Rakhine: Time for a New Approach
Thomas Kean of Frontier Myanmar

Short Video (English)

Winner


Growing Up Too Fast in Afghanistan
Andrew J Phillips and Preethi Nallu of Al Jazeera English

Merit


Unhappy Holidays
John Sudworth, Kathy Long, Lily Lee and Wang Xiqing of BBC News

Documentary Video (English)

Winner


China’s Hidden Camps
John Sudworth, Kathy Long, Lulu Luo and Wang Xiqing of BBC News

Merit


Student/Trafficked: The Final Chapter
Elroi Yee, Shanjeev Reddy and Satpal Kaler of R.AGE

Brides and Brothels: The Rohingya Trade
Karishma Vyas of Al Jazeera English

Multimedia (English)

Winner


Series: Laos Dam Collapse
Mike Ives, Ben C. Solomon, Richard C. Paddock, Julia Wallace, Choe Sang-Hun, Muktita Suhartono, Rick Gladstone, Len Leng, Maea Lenei Buhre, Ryn Jirenuwat and Tim Wallace of The New York Times

Merit


Too Many Men
Annie Gowen, Simon Denyer and Jasu Hu of The Washington Post

Sichuan Earthquake, 10 Years On: How a Tragedy Changed China
Sarah Zheng, Choi Chi-yuk and Magdalene Fung of South China Morning Post

Student Writing (English)

Merit


Periods: Addressing a Taboo and a Need of the Underprivileged
Supriya Chhetri, Gianna Aquino, Janina Rika and Karrie Lam of MSS Messenger, Marymount Secondary School

Student Video & Audio (English)

Winner


Lawyer Lin
David Missal of Hong Kong Free Press

Breaking News Writing (Chinese)

Winner


Liu Xia Arrives in Germany for Treatment; Fulfilling Liu Xiaobo’s Last Wish; Freedom in the End
China Section of Apple Daily Hong Kong

Merit


50 Arrested in Jasic’s 3 Month Labour Movement; Supporters Say State Media Faked News About Foreign Instigators
Chen Yi Qin and Fong Sim Chu of Ming Pao

Edward Leung and 6 Others Charged for Inciting Riots in Mong Kok’s Conflicts
Tai Ching Hei of CitizenNews

Investigative Feature Writing (Chinese)

Winner


The Storm of Human Trafficking at Sea
Lee Hsueh Li Sherry and Chiang I Ting of The Reporter

Merit


Series: Scandal of the Shatin to Central Link
Investigation Section of Apple Daily Hong Kong

“Save our Kids”: Examining Child Abuse Issues
Yip Kit Ming of CitizenNews

Explanatory Feature Writing (Chinese)

Winner


Taiwan: Dangerous Island for Immigrant Workers
Chien Yung Ta of The Reporter

Merit


Outcry Behind Bars
Chan Ping Ting of The News Lens

Lawyers Dealing with Poisonous Milk Powder and Problematic Vaccines, What Are They up To?
Qin Kuan of Initium Media

Commentary Writing (Chinese)

Winner


Three Secretaries for Justice Sought External Advice on Ten Cases Unrelated to Staff; Grenville said Teresa Cheng Didn’t Understand the Policy of Briefing Out
Ng Yuen Ying of CitizenNews

Merit


“We Are Not Here for Fun” – A Reporter’s Mission
Tsai Ching Hua of [email protected]

Merit


When Fishing Ground Exploitation Meets International Labour Organisation: Has Taiwan Sensed the Alarm from Cape Town
Sung Chen En Raymond of The Reporter

Short Video (Chinese)

Winner


District Councils’ Proxy Votes
Yeung Leung Kit of CABLE News

Merit


Government Department Fails to Offer Interpreters in Accordance to Guidelines
Leung Ho Ying of CABLE News

Documentary Video (Chinese)

Winner


The Book Merchant
Cheng Sze Sze of RTHK

Merit


The Buried Truth
Chan Wai Li Gary and Hui Siu Fun of NowTV

The Melamine Scandal, Ten Years On
Chui Man Kit and Jerran Lin of CABLE News

Audio (Chinese)

Winner


The Confession of Rights Lawyer Wang Yu
Chan Miu Ling of RTHK

Merit


The Vanished Liberal Think Tanks
Chan Miu Ling of RTHK

Series: Sichuan Earthquake, 10 Years On
Chau Chi Wing of RTHK

Multimedia (Chinese)

Winner


MeToo in Taiwan: Stories of Three Migrant Workers
Ho Po Chun, Hou Liang Ju, Lin Huan Cheng, Chen Wei Chou, Chen Ting Jen, Wu Yi Jing, Wang Shih Chuan, Hu Tsu Wei, Hsueh Ho Chi, Keng Shih Ting and Wang Wen Ting of Apple Daily Taiwan

Merit


Unavoidable Currents – Survey of China’s #MeToo
Yang Zi Qi, Yang Yu, Jin Qiu Feng, Tseng Lee Yu and Rango Zhu of Initium Media

Student Writing (Chinese)

Winner


Half a Century of Heavy Metal Pollution Gives Villagers Deformed Limbs
Liu Dicksa Isabelle, Lam Sum Yi, Shen Qing and Cheung Tung of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK

Merit


40 Years After the Yau Ma Tei Boat People Resistance: The Chronicle of Unlawful Assembly
Yu Ka Hin, Ng Wing and Yiu Wing Tung of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK

Inheriting Domestic Violence – How to Escape the Grip of Fate
Kan Hiu Wai, Ng Tsz Kiu and Ng Wing of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK

Student Video & Audio (Chinese)

Winner


Autism – A Long Way to Integration
Au Sin Yi, Chan Chun Yiu, Kwok Wing Yee and Ng Chun Chun of U-Beat Magazine, CUHK

Photography (Single Image)

Winner


Underground Church in China
Lam Yik Fei of The New York Times

Merit


Rohingyas in No Man’s Land
Ye Aung Thu of AFP

Photography (Series)

Winner


The Looted Honor
Mohammad Rakibul Hasan of Ilta-Sanomat

Merit


Where a Taboo is Leading to the Deaths of Young Girls in Parts of Western Nepal
Tara Todras-Whitehill of The New York Times

People’s Choice Photo Award

Winner


Three Defendants
Tsang Hin Chung of Ming Pao

Keynote speaker Maria Ressa, co-founder and CEO of the Philippines-based news outlet Rappler, said that threats to press freedom were growing across Asia: “Your reporting matters. Now more than ever. We need to hold the line, and show the best of human nature. That is our hope for the future.”

The 23rd Human Rights Press Awards saw a record 468 entries – up 13 per cent from last year.


The Hong Kong Free Press #PressForFreedom 2019 Funding Drive seeks to raise HK$1.2m to support our non-profit newsroom and dedicated team of multi-media, multi-lingual reporters. HKFP is backed by readers, run by journalists and is immune to political and commercial pressure. This year’s critical fundraiser will provide us with the essential funds to continue our work into next year.

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Journalist David Missal wins Human Rights Press award for HKFP video on rights lawyer Lin Qilei