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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  28 Nov 2011

AWARDS: Legal Journalist Of the Year - 2011 Winners Announced


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Carolyn Raphaely, Megan Small and Stephen Grootes, were each announced as winners of the print, broadcast television and radio categories, respectively, during the thirteenth prize giving ceremony of the Webber Wentzel Legal Journalist of the Year Award 2011 competition, held at Illovo, Johannesburg earlier this month.

Pamela Stein, partner at Webber Wentzel, congratulated all the winners for their hard work and commitment this year. “This award honours their dedication and proven ability to report and package in-depth stories comprising a huge variety of legal issues that are an essential part of an unfolding democracy, in a manner that South African citizens can understand,” she said.

Carolyn Raphaely from the Wits Justice Project won R50 000 in the print category, which included online. The judges found that, “Carolyn had been outstanding in reporting about some of the deep problems facing the justice system in South Africa. Four of her entries which were published in three different newspapers demonstrated her grasp and thorough understanding of legal journalism.”

Other Commendations in Legal Journalist of the Year Award

In the same category, Ann Crotty from Business Report was commended for her writing on the new Companies Act. Hans Muhlberg from Noseweek also received a certificate of commendation for his excellent writing, particularly for his British American Tobacco South Africa (BATSA) article. The article focused on a sophisticated strategy to side-step the prohibition on tobacco advertising, and judges commended Muhlberg for clarity of analysis of that strategy that linked it deftly with international marketing trends.

Megan Small from’s 3rd Degree won R50 000 in the broadcast television category for her story on the Hawks, which was very well contextualised in terms of history and political conflict. The history of the Hawks, from its launch and promising sentiments expressed by President Mbeki, to its subsequent successes and the increasing hostility of government as it moved against people perceived to be aligned to dominant factions in government, were all well covered.

Cheryl Uys Allie from Carte Blanche was commended for her entry in the same category which dealt with an under-reported aspect of the criminal justice system: the fate of SA drug mules that were caught and jailed in Brazil.

Broadcast Radio Winners at Legal Journalist of the Year Awards

In the broadcast radio category, Stephen Grootes from Eyewitness News won R50 000 for his reports on the Equality Court case brought by Afriforum against Julius Malema of the ANCYL, which had to decide whether the song “Dubul’ iBhunu” was hate speech or not. Mandy Wiener, also from Eyewitness News was commended for an entry regarding a series of reports on the Brett Kebble murder trial, focusing particularly on the application for discharge of the accused Glenn Agliotti.

The 2011 entries were judged by Advocate John Campbell, Professor Franz Krüger, Director at Wits Radio Academy and Joe Thloloe the current Press Ombudsman.

The guest speaker at the Legal Journalist of the Year Awards was Ferial Haffajee, editor of the City Press newspaper.

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