LONDON — Al Jazeera English was voted news channel of the year for the first time at the U.K.’s Royal Television Society journalism awards.
The Qatar-based broadcaster, whose English service bowed in 2006, saw off competition from Sky News, winner for the past two years, and BBC News.
Al Jazeera English managing director, Al Anstey, said, “Al Jazeera English has had the most incredible year: a year where people took to the streets in protest, the economic crisis unfolded across Europe, and the world witnessed the devastating impact of the tsunami in Japan. Al Jazeera English was there to capture every moment.”
The web also won the innovative news prize at the awards, held in London Wednesday, for its social media and Skype-based show “The Stream: Bahrain.”
The awards ceremony was overshadowed by the death in Syria of seasoned London-based American foreign correspondent Marie Colvin, who worked for the Sunday Times and reported for the BBC and CNN.
Sky News won four awards, including television journalist of the year for Alex Crawford, whose reporting from Libya has been widely praised. It was Crawford’s third successive win in this category.
The BBC’s flagship public affairs show “Panorama” won three prizes, including scoop of the year for “Undercover Care,” its probe into the abuse of vulnerable adults at a care home.
As a result of the program, the home was shuttered and staff charged with neglect.
The judges’ award was given to Japan’s pubcaster NHK for its footage of the tsunami that struck last March and was used by broadcasters around the world.