Hong Kong Free Press has won an honourable mention for photography at Asia’s 2023 Human Rights Press Awards.

A shot by Britt Clennett, which shows a worker rolling up a “Hong Kong Asia’s World City” banner as police officers pass by, won a prize in the Single Image category.

asia's world city police covid-19 covid
Photo: Courtesy of Britt Clennett.

A photograph of a family leaving Afghanistan featured in the New York Times won the category prize.

family in Afghanistan
Nilaab, a single mother, and her two daughters say goodbye to the family as they head to the airport to leave Afghanistan for good. Photo: New York Times.

“These awards recognise the journalists who are shedding light on some of the most critical issues of our time in Asia,” said executive director of Human Rights Watch Tirana Hassan in a press release. “This kind of journalism, often undertaken in extraordinarily difficult conditions, is essential to exposing human rights abuses and we are thrilled to honour these courageous reporters.”

In all, there were 406 submissions across 33 countries for 16 categories of awards.

Other winners included Hong Kong’s Ming Pao for their reporting on the fifth wave of Covid-19, Reuters for their investigative reporting on the Myanmar military’s abuses against the Rohingya, and Taiwan’s The Reporter for its features on the human trafficking of African students by Taiwanese universities.

FCC axes awards

The 2023 prizes were administered by NGO Human Rights Watch and the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in the US after Hong Kong’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club (FCC) relinquished responsibility for the awards last year.

In a statement at the time, the club cited legal risks “red lines,” amid the national security law, but the move prompted members of the club’s press freedom committee to resign. After the club axed the 2022 awards presentation, Human Rights Watch published the list of last year’s winners in full on Wednesday, Press Freedom Day.

The FCC has not made a statement about local press freedom issues for almost half a year.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.