A television exposé of horrific conditions in South Africa's prisons
has earned Hazel Friedman this year's prestigious Vodacom Journalist of
the Year Award, according to a report on M&G Online.


The national winners in various categories were announced at a ceremony held at Vodaworld in Midrand on Sunday evening.

Of Friedman's feature, filmed for the South African Broadcasting Corporation's Special Assignment and titled For the Boys, the judges said it "shone a light in the cracks when most of us would prefer not to look, showing how the innocent and juveniles are thrown into holding cells and the extent of the collusion between prison gangs and warders who turn a blind eye on rape, drugs and violence that is life in prison today".

An emotional Friedman walked away with a R10 000 prize for being the winner in her category, as well as R100 000 for being chosen as the overall winner. "I did not tell the story; the story told me," she said, also thanking those who had the courage to speak out on their experiences in prison.

The national awards followed regional rounds held earlier in the year around the country, and the national winners were chosen from those awarded on regional level.

Overall, the judges praised entries in the print news category, saying the number of entries in this category had almost doubled from the previous year. It was indicative, they said, not only of the confidence of the journalists wanting to compete on a certain level, but also the South African news environment in which they operate. In particular, the investigative nature of the entries was impressive.

Click here to read the full report, posted on M&G Online.