Glasgow student wins Amnesty media award

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Glasgow Guardian journalist Amy Mackinnon has won the prestigious Amnesty International 2012 Media Award for Student Journalism for her article in the December 2011 issue of Glasgow Guardian The curious case of John Oguchuckwu.

Mackinnon’s article tells the story of Glasgow University student John Oguchuckwu, a Nigerian asylum seeker who was deported from the UK last summer. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, John fled to the UK to claim asylum after his mother, father and two sisters were killed in sectarian violence. On July 20, he was deported from the UK after his appeal in the Scottish high court failed. Staff and students at the University of Glasgow have since set up the ‘Oor John’ campaign, which is working to raise funds and awareness on John’s behalf.

After receiving the award in London last night Amy, who graduates in June 2012, said:

It was a fantastic to be shortlisted for the award, never mind to win it. I am absolutely thrilled, especially alongside some big names in the world of journalism; this experience has definitely given me the confidence to pursue journalism now that I have finished my degree at Glasgow.

Through the ‘Oor John’ campaign, things are looking a lot better for John and he has completed his degree in Lagos. Although it’s my name on the article, it was a team effort from students and staff across the campus to bring John’s case to public attention and it was really humbling to see that hard work pay off.

The Amnesty International Media Awards were established in 1992 to recognise and celebrate the best in human rights journalism. The awards recognise the breadth and quality of human rights reporting across the media and are judged by a panel of human rights and media experts.

Sean Anderson, editor of the Glasgow Guardian, a volunteer-run newspaper supported by the Glasgow University Students’ Representative Council, said:

Everyone on the Glasgow Guardian’s team is proud of Amy’s campaign for John Oguchuckwu’s welfare, and it is awe-inspiring to see a contributor to our newspaper awarded alongside such people as Marie Colvin. These are the sort of people that inspire us to get involved in journalism, and it is awards like these that galvanise ambition to make that leap into the professional world. This award is a statement that the work of volunteers and students is no less journalism, and no less important.