This year’s Rory Peck Awards winners highlighted the plight of ordinary people living through extraordinary times in Syria and Iraq.
Every day, freelance journalists and camerapersons risk their lives to deliver breaking news from remote and inhospitable conflict zones across the world.
The annual Rory Peck Awards – in honour of freelance cameraman Rory Peck who was killed while reporting on the Russian coup against Mikhail Gorbachev in 1993 – celebrates the work of freelance camerapersons and their vital contribution to newsgathering.
Last month, the seventh annual Rory Peck Awards took place at Sadler’s Wells, London, and was hosted by the BBC’s Lyse Doucet and NBC’s Katy Tur.
This year’s finalists all explored communities under siege, with reports from the frontlines of Aleppo and Mosul, and further afield in Washington and La Paz.
Here we take a look at the winners of the Rory Peck Awards 2017, all of whom have been instrumental in bringing the stories of conflict and the humanitarian crises in Syria and Iraq to the world’s attention.
“Many of this year’s finalists have overcome enormous pressures to bring important stories to our attention. Without them our knowledge of what’s happening in the world suffers.”
Tina Carr – Director, Rory Peck Trust
The Rory Peck Award for News
Inside Aleppo: The Last Hospital – Waad Al Kateab
As Syrian government forces wrestled east Aleppo from rebel forces in November 2016, former Aleppo University student Waad Al Kateab brought the world harrowing footage from inside east Aleppo’s last functioning hospital, Al-Quds.
Al Kateab’s powerful piece opens with the haunting image of a traumatised toddler, caked in dust and dried blood and unable to speak after a bomb hit his apartment block and killed his family. It’s a snapshot of unimaginable daily life for families in the war-torn city, which has been fought over for the past five years.
Inside Aleppo: The Last Hospital was praised by the judges as ‘an exemplary piece of journalism’ that ‘shows us so powerfully the horrors of war’.
The Rory Peck Award for News Features
Battle for Mosul – Olivier Sarbil
Olivier Sarbil spent six weeks embedded with Iraqi special forces on the frontline in the battle against IS.
Battle for Mosul follows the young soldiers of the 1st Battalion as they fought to reclaim the Iraqi city of Mosul. These young men pushed on in the fight to reclaim territory from IS, despite facing the threat of snipers, drone attacks and suicide bombers on a daily basis.
Sarbil is a freelance filmmaker based in London. The judges praised him for his ability to capture ‘raw emotion and authentic life’.
The Sony Impact Award for Current Affairs
Goodbye Aleppo – Siraj Al Deen Al Omar, Mojahed Abo Al Jood, Basim Ayyoubi and Ahmad Hashisho
Commissioned by the BBC to capture the fall of east Aleppo at the end of 2016, four young Syrian journalists brought the story to life by filming their own personal experiences of the last days of fighting between the Syrian government and rebel forces.
Goodbye Aleppo was described by the judges as ‘the most intimate, gripping and moving work we could see of these last days in Aleppo. A superb, a tremendous film’.
If you’re a freelance journalist or cameraperson, sign up to FreelanceDiary today for a faster, more efficient way to get booked for jobs.