The 'Al Jazeera 3' awarded the RTS Television Journalism Judges' Award
By Tim Dickens
The Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste picked up the RTS Television Journalism Judges' Award tonight on behalf of himself and two of his colleagues still on bail in Egypt.
Greste was honoured alongside his two Al Jazeera colleagues, Baher Mohamed and Mohamed Fahmy, who watched a live broadcast of the London ceremony from Cairo.
The three were arrested in December 2013 and later jailed on charges of terrorism and spreading false news. Greste was released from the Egyptian Jail on 1 February, after 400 days in prison.
Greste, who has been in the UK since Monday, said he and his two colleagues were ‘truly humbled’ to receive the award.
He told the audience of television journalists at the Hilton tonight: “My heart is still beating as though I ran here from Cairo.
“This [the award] is about us – by that I don’t mean we three, I mean the broader collective us, and that includes everyone in the media who turned out to support our cause.
“We journalists can be a pretty cantankerous bunch, but throughout our detention the media have lined up behind us in a truly extraordinary way.
"I'd be willing to bet this award the journalists have never united behind a common, single cause in the way that they have ours."
He added: "This was about the universal principals of the freedom of expression. Of the right to know."
Chair of the RTS Television Journalism Awards, Stewart Purvis CBE, said: “I think I am right in saying that this is the first time that the judges have sat down and decided to choose a group of individuals who were, at the time, in prison.
“Whatever dispute the Egyptian Government may have had with the Qatari owners of Al Jazeera and its channel aimed at Egypt, the evidence on the terrorist charges against the three Al Jazeera English staff was – in the eyes of independent experts – non-existent.”
Two seats were left empty at the awards dinner for Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Although strict bail conditions prevented them from taking part in the ceremony, they watched the ceremony live from Cairo, via a broadcast by Al Jazeera.
To see the full list of winners from the RTS Television Journalism Awards, click here.