South China Morning Post reporter wins coveted Lorenzo Natali Journalism Prize

Hong Kong, December 12, 2011South China Morning Post reporter Fiona Tam (Tan Xiao-mi) won the first prize for the Asia-Pacific region in the Lorenzo Natali Journalist Prize competition. The European Commission and a seven-member grand jury awarded the prize at the ceremony last Thursday night in Brussels.

Her article "Medicine’s Wild East", which appeared in the South China Morning Post in May, exposed the Chinese hospitals profiting from stem cells harvested from induced abortions.

This is the second time Tam has won the prize, the first being in 2009, when Tam and the Post’s reporter Choi Chi-yuk received first prize in the Asia-Pacific region for their article "Deadly Harvest" about the ban on burials in Guangdong and the "black corpses" market under the ban.

The grand jury, headed by senior journalist Toby Vogel from the European Voice, said: "’Medicine’s Wild East’ reveals that many Chinese hospitals are cashing in on the desperation of terminally ill patients, offering unproven and fraudulent treatments based on stem cells and tissues harvested from aborted fetuses."

"The expose has generated intense discussion in China’s blogosphere… With the public increasingly skeptical towards such treatments in the wake of this piece, China is now being forced to consider both the implications of its often lax regulatory system and its approach to human rights in general."

"The article was characterised by the grand jury as a very brave piece and a strong story, with Tam praised for opening so many doors on the subject."

The Lorenzo Natali Prize, established in 1992 by the European Commission, is in its 20th year, and is awarded to journalists for outstanding reporting on human rights, democracy and development. Natali, an Italian, was a vice-president of the commission who died in 1990.

17 winners from all around the world were awarded the Lorenzo Natali Prize for outstanding journalistic work covering issues of development, human rights and democracy during the award ceremony in Brussels, chosen from more than 1300 participants. Through this Prize, the European Commission aims to reward journalists reporting in often challenging circumstances, celebrating the ways in which journalism can be a seed of positive change, the inspiration for development, and the engine for democracy and human rights.


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