THE Phnom Penh Post scooped up awards for reporting and photography at the Society of Publishers in Asia's (SOPA) annual competition for editorial excellence, 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", about 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.
Only one other publication in the same group won more prizes than The Phnom Penh Post: the South China Morning Post.
The SOPA Awards were established in 1999 to honour high standards of journalism and the best work in Asia. This year saw what organisers called a "staggering" 547 entries vying in 17 categories.