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Nikkei Asia wins five prizes at WAN-IFRA Asia awards

Judges recognize coronavirus pandemic coverage, photography and U.S.-China feature

Nikkei Asia won prizes for its coverage of Asia's "tech underclass" and for its cover image on the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan

TOKYO -- Nikkei Asia has picked up five prizes at the WAN-IFRA Asian Media Awards, earning recognition for its coronavirus pandemic coverage, photography and features.

The Tokyo-based outlet's two gold and three silver medals made it the joint biggest winner in the annual honors run by the World Association of News Publishers.

Nikkei Asia notched the top two awards in two separate categories.

In the COVID-19 reporting category, the gold medal went to a piece on the suffering of the "tech underclass" of couriers in Seoul, Jakarta, and Shanghai as the pandemic supercharged Asia's digital commerce boom.

The article, by Steven Borowiec with Erwida Maulia, CK Tan and Wataru Suzuki, highlighted the death of Jang Dug-joon, a warehouse worker for South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang. The company later apologized to Jang's family, after an official commission ruled that his death was related to his work.

The COVID-19 reporting silver medal went to a piece on how health workers in some Asian countries had been "bullied into silence" by officials during the pandemic. The article was written by Erwida Maulia and Ismi Damayanti, with Cliff Venzon, P Prem Kumar and Dylan Loh.

In the news photography category, the top prize went to Paula Bronstein's picture of an Afghan woman praying at the bedside of her grandson, who was being treated for liver failure at a Kabul hospital. The image laid bare Afghanistan's humanitarian crisis, as U.S. sanctions and a severe drought compounded economic turmoil since the Taliban retook power last year.

The news photography silver medal went to a picture of protesters brandishing flares on the streets of Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, in a flash mob rally against the February 2021 military takeover. The image was taken by Berry, a pseudonymous young photojournalist who later left the country as the dictatorship cracked down on dissent and the media.

Nikkei Asia's Taiwan-based technology reporters Cheng Ting-Fang and Lauly Li won the silver award in the features category. Their piece revealed Beijing's efforts to create secret chipmaking champions as part of the tech war between the U.S. and China.

Shigesaburo Okumura, Nikkei Asia editor-in-chief, said the prizes provided further recognition of the quality of work done by the publication's pan-regional network of journalists.

"These awards are testament to our reporters' deep knowledge of their beats and their skill in exposing important facts and trends," he said. "They also demonstrate the quality and dedication of our editorial teams in Tokyo."

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