The West Australian’s Steve Pennells has taken out the United Nation’s Media Peace Prize print category for his powerful depiction of the trauma and heartbreak suffered by families left behind after June’s asylum boat tragedy.
A triple category winner from last year, Pennells shared the print category award win with The Australian’s John Lyons and Sylvie Le Clezio, for their story of Palestinian children in detention.
The intrepid investigative reporter travelled through Pakistan speaking to family members of asylum seekers whose lives were tragically lost after their boat sank 120 nautical miles north of Christmas Island earlier this year.
Travelling with photographer Lee Griffiths, Pennells’ reports documented the lives and hopes of men who fled the troubled Pakistani city of Parachinar, on the Afghan border, who hoped to find refuge in Australia.
Last year, Pennells took out every print award for his coverage of the Malaysia people swap deal and refugees fleeing Somalia. The win made him the only journalist to have won all three categories in the awards’ history.
The national awards recognise those in the media whose work highlights and champions human rights, humanitarian and social justice issues.
He is also a finalist in three categories for the 57th annual Walkley Awards and in five categories for the WA Media Awards to be announced next month.