The International Bureau of Epilepsy (IBE) and UCB are pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Excellence in Epilepsy Journalism Award.
The award aims to raise awareness about epilepsy across the globe. It recognises journalists who have excelled in reporting compelling and informed stories that engage the audience on this often misunderstood condition. Epilepsy is the most common, serious neurological condition, affecting up to 50 million people worldwide.1
Impressed by the standard of the articles submitted for consideration to the judging panel this year, Mike Glynn, award judge and President of IBE commented:
"We were pleased to receive almost 50 entries from 24 countries across the world. The importance of accurate, insightful journalism across the globe is important for the epilepsy community, who often face deep-seated stigma and misconceptions about the reality of the condition."
"Our hope is that over time, we can help to encourage more reporting that begins to break down these barriers to understanding and acceptance for many people living with epilepsy across the world."
An independent seven-member judging panel comprising media experts and people with first-hand experience of epilepsy were tasked with identifying responsible, original and informed stories from the 49 entries.
The winner of the print category was Maj My Midtgaard Humaidan from Denmark for her article 'Living Amidst Seizures and Lack of Empowerment' that appeared in the Danish newspaper Fyns Amts Avis.
"We felt that this was a powerful and compelling piece of writing, something which really set this article apart," commented David Josephs member of the judging panel and UK Epilepsy Advocate.
"The entry brilliantly depicts the portrait of someone living with severe epilepsy and just how challenging this can be, not just for the person but for the entire family."
Birthe TĂ¸nseth from Ireland was the winner in the broadcast category for her programme 'Life with Epilepsy' broadcast onRadio TelefĂs Ă‰ireann's RTĂ‰ One.
"This programme looked at the lives of three people with different types of epilepsy, in an accessible and uplifting way through their personal stories," said Robert Cole, member of the judging panel from the Epilepsy Association of South Australia and the Northern Territory, Australia.
"The stories reference various challenges such as the symptoms, common problems, stigma and discrimination, but also the hopes, dreams and achievements of people living with epilepsy. The entry was well researched and a worthy winner."
Victoria Macdonald from the UK was also highly commended for her piece 'Patients Not told of Epilepsy Sleep Death Risk' which was broadcast on Channel 4 News.
"There was a high standard of entries in the broadcast category this year," said Robert Cole, member of the judging panel from the Epilepsy Association of South Australia and the Northern Territory, Australia.
"Victoria Macdonald's news piece highlighted the case of two families who lost daughters to Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP), who had not been warned of the risk. SUDEP remains an important topic, and this entry was highly commended by the judges."
The winner of the online category was Comfort Mussa from Cameroon for her article 'Epilepsy Myths Promote Stigma, Prevent Care in Cameroon' that appeared on the Global Press Institute website.
"Comfort Mussa tackled an important issue in Africa, the demonising of epilepsy, and did so in a very compelling way," commented Joachim Mueller-Jung, member of the judging panel, Writer and Journalist, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany.
"The story explores how myths promote stigma and sheds light on the importance of sensitising the community to accept people with epilepsy to ensure optimal care."