April 10th, 2013
05:46 PM ET

Mauritania slavery reporting honored

CNN has won two honors at the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards - one for an online-led Freedom Project special report on modern-day slavery in Mauritania and one for its coverage of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

For Mauritania, the judges said 'Slavery's Last Stronghold' upholds "the highest ideals of journalism" and recognized the covert reporting of CNN Digital reporters John D. Sutter and Edythe McNamee.

The judges noted: “They had to do their reporting on slavery covertly, often in the presence of a government-assigned minder. Their project was published online, accompanied by haunting photos and video.”

Senior international correspondent Arwa Damon and photojournalist Sarmad Qaseera won in the breaking news category. The reporting shed light on the attack which killed U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

Judges said: “Damon’s courageous reporting showed it appeared to be a planned attack that came after U.S. diplomats had been warned days before by Libyan officials about the deteriorating security there. The network stood firm in the face of harsh criticism from the State Department. The U.S. government’s investigation later proved CNN’s reporting to be accurate.”

The full list of winners is here.


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  3. Former Peace Corps volunteer, Mauritania

    Amazing that CNN won an award for their Mauritania coverage. I don't mean to be overly critical and I give them credit for reporting on the issue in the first place, but they got so many of the facts wrong and misled readers on several points. Someone reading the article would assume that all black moors are enslaved by light-skin moors, for example. The situation is very nuanced in Mauritania with a lot depending on the area of the country you're in, if you're in a large town or out in the country, not to mention the form that slavery takes, which in many cases is more like working for food and shelter, in a country where many people are in extremely desperate situations. These subtleties were entirely missing from CNN's reporting on the issue. And the numbers given (estimates of slaves) were way too high.

    April 10, 2013 at 9:15 pm | Reply
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