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Polk Awards Honor Coverage of Hate Groups, U.S. Airstrikes, Migrant Prisons & More

HeadlineFeb 22, 2022

Long Island University has announced the 2021 George Polk Awards in Journalism. The award for National Television Reporting goes to “American Insurrection,” hosted by A.C. Thompson and directed by Rick Rowley. The “Frontline”/PBS film documents how the Trump presidency has emboldened far-right movements across the U.S.

Azmat Khan, Dave Philipps and Eric Schmitt of The New York Times won for their investigations that uncovered intelligence failures and civilian deaths in U.S. airstrikes in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Also winning a Polk Award is Ian Urbina of The New Yorker for his investigative report, “The Secretive Prisons That Keep Migrants Out of Europe.” Urbina tells the story of Aliou Candé, a 28-year-old father of three who fled his failing farm in Guinea-Bissau trying to reach Europe by boat from Libya. He was captured at sea by the European Union-backed Libyan Coast Guard and jailed at a notorious migrant prison known as Al Mabani. Democracy Now! recently spoke with Ian Urbina about his reporting.

Ian Urbina: “What Western and non-Western aid groups that are able to get into these facilities, Al Mabani included, what’s routinely documented is extortion, rape, torture and sometimes murder. What we were investigating, in particular, was a particularly egregious murder in which guards opened fire on migrants, and Aliou Candé, our main character, was killed.”

You can link to our interviews with Polk Award-winning journalists Ian Urbina, Azmat Khan, Rick Rowley and A.C. Thompson at our website democracynow.org to watch all the interviews and read the transcripts.

The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

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