Danish Bangkok-based journalist, Anya Palm, wins the Nairobi-award 2016, an annual award given to a person, group or organization that brings stories about development countries forth in Danish media.
She won the prize for a series of articles printed in the Danish Magazine Udvikling. The investigation of the widespread and public accepted racism among monks in Southeast Asia, as the critique of the the Danish media support organization, IMS, and their close bonds with the military regime in Myanmar and the disclosure that Cambodian Somaly Mam accounts about being traded for a brothel in the age of 12 was built on a lie, are listed as reasons for Anya Palm to get the award.
“It is development journalism that contains the unexpected – and stories that we therefore want to read – and that dares to challenge strong agents in the Danish development-circles”, explains Stefan Katic and Christian Andersen from Udvikling, that nominated Anya Palm for the Nairobi-award.
The award was presented to Anya at a show in Copenhagen the 21st of May. At the show chairman for the Nairobi-club, Jan Kjær, said:
“We know, in the Nairobi-club, how difficult it can be to get paid for journalism in distant and poor regions of the world. In particular when you are running your own shop outside of Denmark. That’s why the Nairobi-award 2016 should be an important reminder that it is actually durable when you, as Anya Palm, presents quality products in your shop”.
Anya Palm, 35, has been living in Bangkok since 2009 and working as a freelance journalist. She has also been working as a journalist in Cambodia and the Danish parliament. In her acceptance speech she said:
“I live in Thailand and covers Southeast Asia where tourism plays an essential role for the countries economy. The readers expectations are shaped by a travel industry that presents a lot of beautiful brochures of white sand beaches and free swaying palm tress, I think. That is Thailand. The land of smiles it’s called. That is our postcard images. Every country has their own postcard image – a way that the reader sees the our country. Our job as foreign correspondents is to deconstruct this image because it overshadows reality, as far as I’m concerned”.
“Personally I believe foreign correspondents have a choice: we can keep painting the same picture as presented on postcards, write about white beaches and swaying palm trees and confirm what people already knows about our areas. There’s nothing wrong in that. I mean it isn’t false that Thailand for example has some really nice beaches. We can also deal with foreign journalism as any other matter and shed light on the relevant problems in society, there might exist, by following normal journalistic standards: Interviewing both sides, experts and cases and be present at the events. For me it’s an easy choice. I have never been interested in collecting postcards anyway”, she ended.
The Nairobi-award has been presented since 1980 and the recipients list counts Amnesty International, IMS International Media Support, Nagieb Khaja and latest in 2015 journalists, Peter Rasmussen og Peter Keiding and photographer Søren Zeuth.