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Nikkei Asia wins human rights journalism prize

Human Rights Press Awards honor piece on explosion of online fraud

The winning article revealed the casino-based underworld operating just outside Thailand’s borders. (Illustration by Michael Tsang)

TOKYO -- Nikkei Asia has won a leading international human rights journalism prize for the first time for an investigation of the post-pandemic explosion in online fraud in several South-East Asian countries.

The Human Rights Press Awards, which are focused on Asia, gave the honor in the explanatory feature writing category of the English language section.

The prizes, which attracted more than 400 entries from 33 countries, were announced on May 3 -- World Press Freedom Day. Other winners in the sixteen categories, which cover reporting in Chinese and English, included the New York Times, Reuters and The Economist.

Nikkei Asia's winning piece, "Asia's scamdemic: How COVID-19 supercharged online crime", revealed the casino-based underworld operating on the Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar sides of Thailand's borders. The visually-rich project -- lead reported by Dominic Faulder with contributions by Thompson Chau, Kyokuto Murayama, Anchalee Romruen and Sun Narin -- was honored in March by the U.S. Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing.

The Human Rights Press Awards are organized by Human Rights Watch and Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. They took over responsibility last year from the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong, where authorities have clamped down on media after Beijing imposed a sweeping new national security law in 2020.

"These awards recognize the journalists who are shedding light on some of the most critical issues of our time in Asia," said Tirana Hassan, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

Shin Nakayama, Nikkei Asia's editor-in-chief, said: "We are grateful for the recognition of Nikkei Asia's story on a problem that is causing great suffering to people in the affected countries and fraud victims beyond. We thank the judges, Human Rights Watch and Walter Cronkite School for keeping these awards and their focus on human rights journalism alive."

Winners in other categories included Ming Pao, a Hong Kong-based news outlet, for a series on how Covid's fifth wave engulfed the territory last spring.

The awards organizers also unveiled last year's winners, which were never announced at the time because of the national security law.

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