Rappler journalists win top Asian award for 'Impunity' series

MANILA, Philippines – Rappler journalists Patricia Evangelista and Carlo Gabuco won the top prize for the English Multimedia category on Saturday, May 13, at the Human Rights Press Awards.

These remain Asia's top awards for human rights reporting. 

Evangelista and Gabuco were recognized at the award-giving body's 21st awards presentation ceremony at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong on Saturday.

Evangelista wrote the text and Gabuco, a Magnum Foundation grantee, took the photos for Rappler's "Impunity" series, which tackled drug-related killings in the Philippines. (READ: Where the drug war began)

In her acceptance speech, Evangelista said: "In the Philippines, we live, or so we are told, at a time of war. After thousands of deaths of suspected drug dealers and addicts, there was talk the government was responsible for crimes against humanity. President Rodrigo Duterte said that you cannot wage a war without killing. 'In the first place,' he said, 'I'd like to be frank with you: are they human?'" 

"On behalf of Rappler, photographer Carlo Gabuco and I would like to thank the Human Rights Press Awards for this recognition and the spotlight it puts over the survivors and witnesses who had the courage to speak. We only tell the story, they have to live it. The bloodshed is happening on our watch, and we hope that we do not let them down," Evangelista added.

Aside from Rappler, top prizes for the major categories went to The Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and Agence-France Presse. The Human Rights Press Awards also recognized other Filipino journalists and pieces about the war on drugs in the Philippines.

This year's awardees include the following:

The Human Rights Press Awards aim "to increase respect for people's basic rights and to focus attention on threats to those freedoms."

All stories must have been published or broadcast in 2016. All entries must be reported from the Asia region, and may be in either English or Chinese. Categories include text and print, editorials and commentary, radio, TV, photography, cartoons and multimedia.

The awards are co-organized by the Foreign Correspondents' Club Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Journalists Association with Amnesty International Hong Kong. – Rappler.com