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BBC takes six awards at the Royal Television Society Journalism Awards

MUMBAI: Veteran BBC journalist, documentary-maker and author Peter Taylor has been honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Royal Television Society Journalism Awards, announced at a ceremony in London overnight.

The UK pubcaster also took home six other awards, including Middle East Editor Jeremy Bowen being named Television Journalist of the Year. The judges referred to Bowen’s entry as “a masterclass in TV journalism”, commending him for continuing to report the events around him even when injured by shotgun pellets while reporting on the protests in Egypt.

Taylor joined the BBC from ITV in 1980 as a reporter on Panorama, but was recognised for his career in journalism spanning more than 45 years. During that time he has become best known for his coverage of terrorism and political violence, in particular the conflict in Northern Ireland, and following 9/11, the Al-Qaeda network, Islamist extremism and the intelligence services. He is also highly regarded for his ongoing coverage of smoking and health, and the politics of tobacco.

The judges praised Taylor for “unpicking some of the key historical events of our time”, noting his “honest, scrupulously fair and deeply insightful” programmes on the conflict in Northern Ireland, as well as his work analysing the rise of Islamic terrorism since 9/11.

Taylor said, “I’m surprised and delighted to be recognised in this way. This is an award not just for me, but for all those colleagues I’ve worked with throughout my career. Thank you also to the BBC for giving me the time, the freedom and the support to do what I have, and for teaming me with incredible people without whose talents and dedication I would not be receiving this award.”

BBC deputy director of news, current affairs Fran Unsworth said, “Peter is a journalist of the highest calibre who has made an exceptional contribution to journalism at the BBC, as well the industry more widely.

“This award is well-deserved recognition of his influential work, as well as his continued determination to explore and investigate important issues. His coverage of the Troubles and the tobacco industry in particular stand out as examples of the ground-breaking journalism he is widely recognised for. We congratulate him on this honour, another in his already distinguished career.”

The BBC also collected the prize for Camera Operator of the Year (Darren Conway, BBC News), the award for Innovative News (Don’t Panic: The Truth About Population, Wingspan for BBC Two), as well as the Nations and Regions Current Affairs and News Event Award (BBC Scotland Investigates – Sins Of Our Fathers, BBC Scotland), the Nations and Regions News Programme Award (BBC Midlands Today, BBC East Midlands), and Stewart White from BBC Look East was announced as News Regional Presenter of the Year.