Thu, 9 March 2023 at 10:51 pm GMT
The Independent’s international correspondent Bel Trew has won Foreign Reporter of the Year at The Press Awards 2023.
Spending months covering the war in Ukraine, Bel has crisscrossed the country to reveal harrowing stories from the front lines.
She has also produced multiple in-depth investigations, including into the fate of thousands of civilians who vanished since Vladimir Putin launched his invasion last year.
Her video and text series The Missing uncovered evidence of possible war crimes, including torture, widespread illegal transfer of civilians, enforced disappearances, forced labour and hostage taking. She also reported extensively into Olenivka prison in occupied territory where 53 prisoners of war were blown up.
Bel also uncovered other evidence of war crimes, including an underground torture chamber in the northeast of the country; followed evacuation convoys rescuing civilians, combat medics and first responders in front-line towns like Bakhmut and Soledar; and revealed the devastating impact of the conflict on the most vulnerable.
In November she was among the first journalists to enter the newly liberated city of Kherson just days after the Russians had withdrawn, joining aid convoys dropping off food to malnourished residents.
This month, The Independent premiered Bel’s documentary, The Body in the Woods, a feature-length film into Ukraine’s unprecedented search for its missing and dead.
Geordie Greig, editor-in-chief of The Independent, said: “The courage of all reporters is exemplified by the extraordinary stories which Bel has brought to The Independent. Her memorable work demonstrates the best of what journalism does, which is to alter the dial of understanding of events which turn out to be history.”
Over the past decade, Bel has sought to tell lesser-reported stories and shatter stereotypes around the world from the Arab Spring uprisings to war in Europe.
From her home base in Beirut, Lebanon, Bel exposed how the UK abandoned thousands of Syrian people it promised to rehome as long as five years ago. They were living in such dire conditions that they were forced to pick through bins for food or to withhold life saving medicine for their disabled children.
In June, Bel interviewed asylum seekers in the UK due to be sent to Rwanda. Bel spoke to three of those onboard the abandoned flight, revealing how they were beaten and restrained in harnesses.
Following the release of Bel’s documentary The Body in the Woods, viewers are now able to watch it online at the Independent TV hub (independent.tv), on The Independent’s new smart TV app, and on the Independent mobile app.
The Independent TV app is available globally on a number of smart TV (‘CTV’ – connected TV) platforms: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, and Sony smart TVs. In the coming weeks, LG, Samsung and Roku will be added.