Freelancer of the Year
Yaara Bou Melhem is an intrepid independent journalist and filmmaker who has worked in the remotest corners of Australia and around the world. She has won two UN Media Peace Awards, a Bronze Medal at the New York Festival, a Hong Kong Human Rights Press Award and a Walkley Award for her reporting in Australia, Asia and the MENA region. Yaara was also named the Young Australian Television Journalist of the Year by the Walkley Foundation in 2009 and took the overall award in 2011. She has reported and directed films for Australian and international broadcasters including Al Jazeera English, CNN, SBS TV Australia and ABC Australia.
Entry: Al Jazeera English, “Australia: At Home and Abroad”
Judges’ Comments: Yaara Bou Melhem’s story about the lives of two refugees resettled in Cambodia from Nauru gave a powerful insight into the human impact of the Australian Government’s failed resettlement plan. The piece, which she researched, wrote and produced, showed dogged reporting skills, was highly newsworthy, and a great scoop.