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Middle East Eye recognised at top media awards ceremony

MEE contributor Peter Oborne won best blogging/commentary and Suraj Sharma was "highly commended" as online freelancer
The Online Media Awards is a major UK awards ceremony that highlights exemplary journalism in digital media (OMA)
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Middle East Eye was honoured in two major categories at Thursday night’s Drum Online Media Awards.

The award for best blogging/commentary went to MEE contributor Peter Oborne while MEE's Suraj Sharma was "highly commended" by the judges as online freelancer.

MEE was also nominated for best national news site and breaking news story of the year.

The Online Media Awards is a major awards ceremony that highlights exemplary journalism in digital media.

Peter Oborne

Oborne was the first Western correspondent to be allowed into the Houthi stronghold of Saada in Yemen, speaking to doctors who revealed that babies were dying in their incubators for lack of basic medicines.

He also highlighted the existence of cluster bombs months before the UK government was forced to admit that British-made munitions had been dropped in Yemen.

“I’m delighted to have won this award because Middle East Eye is a new voice about what’s happening in the Middle East; it really gets to the heart of the issues, and it’s an amazing privilege to work for it,” Oborne said after the ceremony.

Oborne exposed last year the claim told by then-prime minister David Cameron about Suliman Gani, an imam from Tooting, who was falsely accused of being a supporter of the Islamic State group during the London mayoral campaign.

Oborne’s series of articles eventually forced an apology and retraction from the UK government.

Last year, Oborne won the Online Media Award for best freelance writer for his reporting from Damascus. The other nominees this year included Robert Peston at ITV News and Guardian Opinion.

Suraj Sharma

In a year when events in Turkey have dominated world news headlines, Sharma has established himself as an ever-present, even-handed and authoritative voice in a country where independent-minded journalists are routinely jailed and intimidated.

During the failed July 2016 coup, Sharma filed thousands of words and multiple stories that caught the mood of a nation standing on a precipice. Since then, he has covered the purges of public officials, complaints about Turkey’s drift towards authoritarianism and a poignant piece on Turkey’s fractured psyche after the New Year’s Eve bomb attacks.

He has also found time to cover lighter subjects, such as tracing Boris Johnson’s Turkish roots to a village in central Anatolia - where the local headman pledged to sacrifice a herd of sheep in honour of the British foreign secretary.

The other nominees were Danielle Rossingh and Motez Bishara, who both write for CNN.