MEDIA PEACE AWARDS
The annual Media Peace Awards of the United Nations Association of Australia (UNAA) have been presented since 1979. They recognise those in the media whose work highlights and champions human rights, and humanitarian and social justice issues. Held in Melbourne, the awards are organised by the UNAA’s Victorian branch. Since 2013, they have been known as the UNAA Peace Awards.
Major award categories are: Best Print—News, Best Print—Feature, Best Photojournalism, Best Radio, Best Television News, Current Affairs (less than 20 minutes), Documentary (more than 20 minutes) and Best Online. There are special award categories of Promotion of Aboriginal Reconciliation, Promotion of Multicultural Issues, Promotion of the Positive Image of the Older Person, Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Women’s Rights and Issues, and Increasing Awareness and Understanding of Children’s Rights and Issues.
Recipients over the years reflect contemporary preoccupations. In 2011, for instance, as both government and opposition adopted harsher rhetoric and policies towards asylum seekers, two awards went to Cordell Jigsaw Productions and SBS Television for their groundbreaking reality series Go Back to Where You Came From. It showed Australians coming face to face with refugees, and allowed viewers to see them reassessing preconceptions and prejudices.
The inaugural winner was the journalist and filmmaker John Pilger, who also later, in 2009, won the Sydney Peace Prize.