Hong Kong Free Press’ Medhavi Arora won a merit in the University English-Language Writing category for her piece on sexual harassment in Hong Kong’s universities at the Human Rights Press Awards on Friday.

The award in the category was given to three student journalists writing for Chinese University of Hong Kong’s Varsity Magazine. The article, “Transparently Unclear”, raised transparency fears stemming from the government’s preference for one-way communication and limited public consultation.

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HKFP’s Medhavi Arora with HRPA’s founder Francis Moriarty at the awards ceremony.

The HRPA, now in its 20th year, was founded by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Hong Kong, Amnesty International Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association. A total of 274 entries on human rights issues across the Asia-Pacific were received this year, including 139 Chinese-language works, 80 English-language works and 55 works of photojournalism.

The winners, chosen by panels of volunteer judges with backgrounds in journalism, law, academia and activism, were announced at the awards ceremony and reception held last Friday evening at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum on the Central Waterfront.

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The Human Rights Press Awards Team. Photo: Human Rights Press Awards人權新聞獎 via Facebook.

The Associate Press’s Margie Mason, Robin McDowell, Martha Mendoza and Esther Htusan scooped the English News & Features Grand Prize with its “Seafood from Slaves” investigative reports. The team had earlier won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Five journalists from Reuters were awarded the English Online Grand Prize with their series “The Long Arm of China”, while the English Broadcast Grand Prize was given to Chan Tau Chou from Al Jazeera English for “The Invisible Children of Sabah, Malaysia”.

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“The entries this year were the strongest we’ve seen,” said Joyce Lau, the awards’ director. “There was an unprecedented level of work from local, independent journalists – plus new online media.”

Chinese online news site Initium, founded only in August 2015, won a total of five prizes including the Chinese News & Features Grand Prize, which was awarded to Zhao Sile for “The Fate of Chinese Rights NGOs”.

Other recipients of merits awards in the English language include South China Morning Post’s Jeffie Lam for her feature, “Elderly Bused in for District Election Vote” and Ilaria Maria Sala’s news piece in the Guardian, “Four Hong Kong Publishers Known for Books Critical of Chinese Regime Missing”.

The High School Journalism Prize was awarded to Xavier Artaza of West Island School, an intern journalist for Harbour Times. The piece, “Disenfranchised: Education for Non-Chinese-Speaking Children in Hong Kong”, highlighted the difficulties of being an ethnic minority student in the city.

Karen cheung hong kong

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.