Al Arabiya News Channel has been awarded this week its third global medal for its United Nations coverage.
Reporter and U.N.-New York bureau chief, Talal Al-Haj won his record third U.N. Correspondents Association, UNCA, award for his 2011-2012 coverage of the Syrian crisis.
Every year journalists from around the world submit their coverage of U.N.-related issues ranging from Climate Change to war in Syria, to be evaluated by independent judges that decide the winners of the Gold, Silver or Bronze medals based on the quality of their work.
In 2007, Talal Al-Haj, Al-Arabiya NY Bureau Chief was awarded a gold medal for his documentary work on the U.N. and the Middle East. In 2010, Al-Haj again won a gold medal for his 18-day around the world documentary on climate change, and his reporting on the Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen.
This year, Talal Al-Haj has been awarded gold medal for the third time for his coverage of the U.N. and failures of its Security Council and the U.N. body in helping put an end to the Syrian crisis and save thousands of civilian lives.
The awards were given in the name of journalists who lost their lives covering stories from around the world, The Elizabeth Memorial Prize for written media and the Ricardo Ortega Memorial Prize for Broadcast journalism. The ceremony was attended by the U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson, U.S. ambassador Susan Rice and many high-level ambassadors and diplomats, as well as goodwill ambassador, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
During his thank-you speech for winning the gold prize this year, Al-Haj, donated his prize which amounts to $10,000 to those suffering most from the crisis he's been following for the last 21 months.
"This really prompted me to donate the $10,000 first prize to the U.N. High Commission for Refugees ... I dedicate this gold medal to the Syrian civilians and mothers and children in Syria. Although we have failed them so far in the Security Council and were unable to stem the violence at an early stage when it was possible to do so, this shows that they are not forgotten," said Al-Haj in his speech.
The president of UNCA, Mr. Giampaulo Pioli said: "we are very touched, 250 entries from the best reporters in the world, and the winner donates his prize to the Syrian refugees. This speaks volumes about the freedom of press and journalists’ freedom of judgment."
Meanwhile Dr. Abdulmohsen Alyas, the Saudi Acting Chargé d'Affaires added “Al Arabiya has wonderful coverage, and Talal Al-Haj won for the third time due to his distinguished reporting. It is a record in the U.N. history."