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Lateline's Solon Story wins Human Rights Award for Television

Commission Commission – General

9 December 2005

Lateline's Solon Story wins Human Rights Award for Television

A series of news-breaking stories by ABC TV's Lateline program which unravelled the tragedy of Australian mother of two, Vivian Solon, and highlighted the systemic incompetence and negligence inside the Immigration Department has won this year's Human Rights Award for Television.

Vivian Solon , produced by Margot O'Neill, Tom Iggulden, Hamish Fitzsimmons, Lisa Millar and Tony Jones,exposed the story of a lost Australian woman who was wrongly deported to the Philippines by the federal Government four years ago.

The judges said this investigative piece of journalism was an outstanding entry which exposed human rights abuses and flaws in the machinations of the Department and had effected significant changes to government policy.

They said that the Lateline team generated probably the biggest television story of the year on human rights injustice and was a standout winner for its investigative excellence, balance and impact.

Two entries were highly commended - ABC TV's 4 Corners ' Out of Mind' by Matthew Carney and Peter Cronau, which exposed the hidden plight of the mentally ill in Australia; and ABC TV's 'The Pilot's Funeral' by Trevor Graham, Rose Hesp and Denise Haslem, a moving story of reconciliation.

The judges commended ' Out of Mind' for their use of the camera in conveying the exact feelings of the homeless and mentally ill. The 4 Corners program was a very compassionate portrait of people living on the streets which h ighlighted the terrible impacts of administrative decisions.

'The Pilot's Funeral' is a fine example of reconciliation. It tells the story of a white pilot who befriended the Yolngu of Arnhem Land. When he died in 2002, the pilot was awarded the first traditional funeral (burial in a sacred painted log called a Dhakandjali) since the missionaries arrived on the land in the 1930s.

The prestigious Human Rights Medal was also presented at the ceremony, along with awards for Law (sponsored by the Law Council of Australia), Community, Arts Non-Fiction, Print Media and Radio (sponsored by SBS Radio). For full details:

Media contact: Paul Oliver 02 9284 9880 or 0408 469 347

updated 9 December 2005.