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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A pat on the back

A pat on the back

Ross Dunkley (left), publisher of The Phnom Penh Post, and Seth Meixner, managing editor, hold up the paper's certificates of honour during the Society of Publishers in Asia's 2009 Awards for Editorial Excellence ceremony Thursday at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Hong Kong.

The Phnom Penh Post scooped up awards for reporting and photography at the Society of Publishers in Asia's annual competition, announced Thursday night at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong.

Vandy Rattana, Chhay Channyda and Rick Valenzuela took the Excellence in News Photography award for their coverage of Boeung Kak lake, where a private company is reclaiming the natural reservoir to build a commercial and residential project, affecting more than 4,000 families. The judges said the essay and singles were "striking, heartbreaking images that are also visually complex".

May Titthara and Christopher Shay won the award for Excellence in Human Rights Reporting for their article "Escape from Hell on the High Sea: Nine trafficked Men Return Home", on 17 men repatriated from Malaysia after having escaped forced labour on a Thai fishing boat. The judges called the report "enterprising work from a small publication".

The Post's publisher, Ross Dunkley, and its managing editor, Seth Meixner, received the awards at the Hong Kong ceremony. The newspaper had entered submissions from its daily-newspaper coverage, which began in August after more than a decade as a fortnightly paper, in the group for English-language local newspapers and magazines with a circulation less than 50,000.

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