Alan Johnston wins top London Press Award
Alan Johnston, BBC Gaza Correspondent, was today named the Broadcasting Journalist Of The Year at the annual London Press Awards.
Alan was abducted in Gaza on 12 March.
Alan's father, Graham Johnston, and BBC Director-General, Mark Thompson, accepted the award on his behalf.
Graham Johnston said: "On behalf of my son, Alan, I wish to thank the London Press Club for this award. As a dedicated journalist, this, I know, will mean a great deal to him. I dearly wish it was Alan himself standing here and not his father. Again, thank you very much."
Mark Thompson said: "I'd just like to add a few words to Graham's. I know I speak on behalf of all of Alan's colleagues and friends – who miss him greatly – when I say that I also wish Alan himself could be here to accept this award.
"Today is the 59th day of Alan's captivity. I'd like to pay tribute to him, and I'd also like to pay tribute to his family – to Graham, Margaret, Katriona and Raymond – who have shown extraordinary strength and courage over these last few weeks.
"We nominated Alan for the Broadcasting Journalist Of The Year award long before his abduction in Gaza – in recognition of his outstanding journalism over the last three years.
"Alan stayed there so long, and stayed after so many other Western correspondents had left, because he wanted to tell the story of Gaza, and to tell it not from a studio in London or by voicing-over pictures taken by an agency or a freelancer thousands of miles away, but on the ground and among the people of Gaza. And he wanted to do that with real journalistic values: with humanity but also with objectivity and impartiality.
"We are absolutely delighted that Alan's long-term professionalism and dedication has been recognised by this award but – at the same time – saddened that, in recent weeks, he has had to pay such a high price. On behalf of the BBC, thank you, London Press Awards, for honouring Alan."
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