This year’s Canon Media Awards will be dedicated to media freedom, and honouring the memories of journalists killed or injured while doing their job.
The awards, New Zealand’s premier journalism contest, will be presented in Auckland on May 22. The awards will also mark the 175th anniversary of the first printing of a newspaper in New Zealand.
Newspaper Publishers’ Association editorial director Rick Neville said this year’s awards presentation would be a celebration of storytelling in a free media.
“Given the terrible assaults on journalists and freedom of speech in recent times, it’s only fitting that we pause to reflect on what it is to live in a free society, and do everything we can to underline the importance of strong and free media to a democracy.”
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has reported at least 60 journalists were killed last year while on the job or because of their work. A further 11 were killed in the attack on the Paris-based satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo earlier this month. The past three years have been the deadliest since the committee started compiling such records in 1992. According to its report, 44 percent were targeted for murder. Of last year’s toll, 17 were killed in Syria.
NPA chairman Michael Muir said New Zealand had a long and proud history of publishing, begun by Samuel Revans producing the New Zealand Gazette from a whare on the banks of the Hutt River on April 18, 1840.
“Newspapers were a cornerstone of European settlement of this country, setting up in every place possible, and being relied on to provide essential information to help people go about their often challenging lives. Whether on newsprint or online, newspapers remain as relevant to their communities today as they did in 1840.”
This year’s awards will showcase journalism across newspapers, websites and magazines and include news and feature writing, photography and design, cartoons, columns, reviews and blogs.
Entries close on Friday February 13 and will be judged by 39 judges in four countries.
Newspaper Publishers' Association