CNN gets pat on the back at annual OPC awards

MUMBAI: CNN has just added another feather to its cap. At the Overseas Press Club's (OPC) 64th annual awards held a few days ago in New York, the broadcaster won two awards including one for its investigation into Al Qaeda.

A highlight of the OPC ceremony was ABC-TV's Ted Koppel leading a candle-lighting ceremony honouring journalists killed there. Former US secretary of state Henry A. Kissinger was the principle speaker.

CNN correspondent Nic Robertson got The David Kaplan Award for best TV spot news reporting from abroad for the five part Terror on Tape series. Using sources and contacts developed after years of reporting in Afghanistan Robertson unearthed a trove of al Qaeda training tapes that showed in detail how recruits were schooled in assassinations, kidnappings, the 9/11 airplane highjackings, explosives, and germ warfare.

The content included a video of Osama bin Laden with his forces. Anti-terrorism experts said that the discovery provided valuable insight into the inner workings of Al Qaeda.

CNN Productions got The Edward R. Murrow Award for Best TV interpretation or documentary on international affairs -House of War: The Uprising at Mazar-e Sharif.. The report dealt with a battle during the war in Afghanistan when Taliban prisoners had the guts to stage a bloody uprising at Mazar-e Sharif.

Indian coverage also got recognised. The Eric And Amy Burger Award for best international reporting in the broadcast media dealing with human rights went to NBC News' show Dateline. Its documentary Slaves to Fashion? exposed child slavery across India's silk industry.

Dateline's year long investigation shows the harsh lives of very young children sold by their parents into bonded labour. The documentary follows the silk production and supply chain from silkworm markets, to boiling and weaving sweatshops, through auction centers, fabric manufacturers and the middlemen and suppliers to leading US department stores. The focus rests on how difficult it is to say with any certainty whether the silk so widely available in America is or is not produced by child slaves.

As far as the print medium was concerned, the Wall Street Journal was recognised for its series of articles Inside Al Qaeda. It won The Hal Boyle Award for Best newspaper or wire service reporting from abroad. The articles were recognised for enterprising reporting, penetrating analysis, and storytelling. The reporters travelled around the world to pursue every possible lead in portraying the most in-depth picture to date of the inner workings of Al Qaeda.

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