Scotsman takes two titles at Refugee Media Awards

THE Scotsman has been named a double winner at a journalism competition celebrating the best media coverage in Scotland of refugee and asylum issues.

At the Refugee Week Scotland Media Awards, held last night in Glasgow, the paper took both the National Print (News) and National Print (Features) prizes, with Martyn McLaughlin and Chitra Ramaswamy the respective recipients.

The awards were hosted by the British Red Cross, in conjunction with the Scottish Refugee Council and the National Union of Journalists.

This year saw a new, special award being added to the roster, sponsored by the National Union of Journalists in Scotland. The first winner was Jasper Hamill, for an article in the Evening Times.

Refugee Week is described by the organisers of the media awards as “a UK-wide celebration of the contribution made to society by people who come to this country as refugees and asylum seekers”, with the Refugee Week Scotland Media Awards further described as being “designed to recognise and encourage fair, accurate and constructive reporting of issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees in Scotland”.

In a statement issued by the organisers, Derek Masterton, media relations officer for the Red Cross in Scotland, is quoted as saying: “It was really encouraging to see the quality and breadth of coverage in the Scottish media of issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees over the last year.

“The judges had an incredibly difficult task in shortlisting and then selecting winners. We congratulate our winners and runners up but we also thank all the journalists who didn’t make it onto the awards list for their tremendous work – please keep it up and make the judges’ job even harder for next year’s Refugee Week Scotland Media Awards.”

The statement further quotes Gary Christie, head of policy and communications at the Scottish Refugee Council, as saying. “The judges were very impressed with the overall quality of journalism in each of the different categories. Our chosen winners are testament to the high calibre of fair and balanced reporting of our Scottish media”.

Of the Special Prize winner, the NUJ’s Scottish Organiser, Paul Holleran, is quoted, as saying: “The judges were really impressed with this story and highlighted its campaigning qualities in line with the long tradition of the Evening Times. Journalism of this high calibre is why newspapers will continue to play a big part in our society, educating, entertaining and informing the public as they should.”

The winners and runners-up list reads as follows:

National Print (News)

Winner: Martyn McLaughlin (The Scotsman – piece on dawn raid on Brand Street, Glasgow’s UK Border Agency headquarters).

Runner-up: Craig McDonald (Daily Record – piece on The Garden of Hope to mark British Red Cross’ International Day of the Disappeared).

National Print (Features):

Winner: Chitra Ramaswamy (The Scotsman – piece on people persecuted for their sexuality).

Runner-up: Kathleen Morgan (The Herald Magazine – piece on refugees facing new struggles as they try to rebuild new lives).

Local Print:

Joint winners

Greenock Telegraph for its series on the deportation of Nigerian student, John Oguchukwu, who had strong connections in the area.

Fife Free Press for its series on Nepalese Asylum Seeker, Kishor Dangol.


Winner: Colin Mearns (Evening Times’ piece on The Red Cross Garden of Hope).

Runner-up: Angela Catlin (The Herald Magazine piece on refugees facing new struggles as they try to rebuild new lives).


Newsnight Scotland: Reporter Derek Bateman’s piece on 60 Years of the UN Convention and Ian Berry’s photographs for Magnum at the 2011 Refugee Week Scotland.

Special Award (sponsored by NUJ Scotland):

Evening Times for its coverage by Jasper Hamill on the Scottish Refugee Council’s Protection Appeal.