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On Tuesday 19th April 2005, journalists and editors from the Arab World, Israel, and the UK convened at the House of Lords for the first International Media Awards. The Awards, unusual in that they brought together journalists from all sides in the region, were conceived as a recognition of consistently balanced reporting on the highly emotive subject of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The following received awards:
· Mr Richard Beeston, Diplomatic Editor of The Times. In recognition of his high standards of reporting and the quality of his news analysis, which of itself promotes understanding.
· Mr Ari Rath, former Editor and Managing Director of the Jerusalem Post, and currently News Editor of Partners for Peace, the voice of the Copenhagen Group. His award is in recognition of a lifetime of achievement and tireless work for rapprochement and peace.
· Mr Abdul Rahman al Rashed, Head of Al Arabiya Satellite News TV, Dubai and former Editor-in-Chief of Sharq al Awsat Newspaper. His award was in recognition of his efforts to maintain the highest standards of professional integrity in countering incitement and disinformation.
Each winner was presented with an olive tree, an emblem both of peace and of the region in whose best interests they have worked with such determination.
The International Media Awards are a concept created by the Next Century Foundation, an NGO which works to facilitate political rapprochement in the Middle East through dialogue. The Awards are managed by the International Media Council, a body associated with the Foundation comprised both of members of the Foundation and media experts.
The Next Century Foundation intends to honour deserving media figures in this way annually. William Morris, Secretary General of the Next Century Foundation explained that "by publicly recognising the efforts of these editors and journalists, some of whom have put their careers and even their lives at risk through their commitment to reporting truthfully and responsibly, we hope to help raise the standards of journalism in reporting on the Arab-Israeli conflict"
The ceremony was attended by diplomats and by senior figures in the Arab, Israeli and British media.