Fifa, the governing body of world soccer, "has launched an investigation after a BBC news team was arrested in Qatar while reporting on the plight of migrant workers building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup,"Matthew Weaver reported Monday for Britain's Guardian newspaper.
"The four-strong crew had been invited by the Qatari’s prime minister's office on an official tour of new accommodation for construction workers. It was part of a public relations drive in the wake of an international outcry over the slave-like conditions for workers exposed by a Guardian investigation.
"But despite official permission to report in Qatar, the crew were arrested by the security services, interrogated and jailed for two days before being released without charge.
"The Qatari government defended the arrests and accused the BBC crew of trespassing.
"Fifa, which has been repeatedly criticised for the way Qatar won the bid to host the 2022 World Cup, was helping to run the tour. It said it was investigating the arrests. 'Any instance relating to an apparent restriction of press freedom is of concern to Fifa and will be looked into with the seriousness it deserves,' it said in a statement.
"The BBC's Middle East correspondent, Mark Lobel, was one of those detained, along with his cameraman, a driver and translator. . . ."
- Committee to Protect Journalists: Qatar detains international journalists for the second time this year
The Association of Opinion Journalists, formerly the National Conference of Editorial Writers, annually grants a Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship — actually an award — "in recognition of an educator's outstanding efforts to encourage minority students in the field of journalism." The educator should be at the college level.
Nominations, now being accepted for the 2015 award, should consist of a statement about why you believe your nominee is deserving.
The final selection will be made by the AOJ Foundation board and announced in time for the annual symposium Nov.14-15 at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla., when the presentation will be made.
Since 2000, the recipient has been awarded an honorarium of $1,000 to be used to "further work in progress or begin a new project."
Past winners include James Hawkins, Florida A&M University (1990); Larry Kaggwa, Howard University (1992); Ben Holman, University of Maryland (1996); Linda Jones, Roosevelt University, Chicago (1998); Ramon Chavez, University of Colorado, Boulder (1999); Erna Smith, San Francisco State (2000); Joseph Selden, Penn State University (2001); Cheryl Smith, Paul Quinn College (2002); Rose Richard, Marquette University (2003); Leara D. Rhodes, University of Georgia (2004); Denny McAuliffe, University of Montana (2005); Pearl Stewart, Black College Wire (2006); Valerie White, Florida A&M University (2007); Phillip Dixon, Howard University (2008); Bruce DePyssler, North Carolina Central University (2009); Sree Sreenivasan, Columbia University (2010); Yvonne Latty, New York University (2011); Michelle Johnson, Boston University (2012); Vanessa Shelton, University of Iowa (2013); and William Drummond, University of California at Berkeley (2014).
Nominations may be emailed to Richard Prince, AOJ Diversity Committee chair, richardprince (at) hotmail.com. The deadline is May 22. Please use that address only for AOJ matters.