MANCHESTER photographer and writer, Len Grant, has been shortlisted for a prestigious media award for his blog about undocumented migrants.
Grant is the only independent freelancer on the 32-strong shortlist for the acclaimed Amnesty International Media Awards. Other hopefuls across the 11 categories include media heavyweights BBC News, The Sunday Times and CNN International.
“In my category I’m up against formidable competition from Channel 4 News and The Guardian,” says Grant. “But I am really pleased to have made it this far, it’s a great honour to be mentioned alongside such big names.”
The shortlisted blog, Life Without Papers, follows the daily struggles of undocumented migrant families and young people. In particular Grant has been documenting 25-year-old ‘Ruth’ and her five-year-old daughter.
“The undocumented are often referred to as ‘illegal immigrants’,” explains Grant, “but that is misleading. Ruth was brought from Ghana aged 15 and worked as a domestic ‘slave’.
"She is unknown to the authorities, claims no benefits, and has no choice but to work under the radar to earn what money she can. Her daughter was born here and attends school but doesn’t even qualify for free school meals."
Amnesty’s Media Awards, now in their 22nd year, recognise excellence in human rights reporting and acknowledge journalism’s significant contribution to the UK public’s awareness and understanding of human rights issues.
“With the fall-out from phone hacking, journalism has had a difficult year,” says Amnesty International UK's, Mike Blakemore, “but this shortlist is a reminder of what the best journalism is all about.
“The shortlist is packed with a huge variety of work from some of the best journalists in their field.“It will be fascinating to see who wins out in each category, but the real point is that human rights journalism is very much alive and kicking in this country.
”Last year’s Media Award winners included The Sunday Times’ Marie Colvin, Radio 5 Live’s Victoria Derbyshire, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, as well as Channel 4 News, BBC Newsnight and Al Jazeera.
The winners of this year’s Awards will be announced in a ceremony at the BFI in central London on Tuesday 11 June.
Grant’s work around urban regeneration is well established, having produced numerous books and exhibitions about Manchester and Salford’s renaissance over the last two decades.
His recent projects about social issues have proved no less successful: a 12-month story about a teenage mum from Moss Side won a Blog North Award last year and, within weeks of its launch earlier this year, the Life Without Papers blog won the online category of the Speaking Together Media Award.
You can view Life Without Papers here.
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