Editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger singled out coverage of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks
He also singled out coverage of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks for special mention. “It’s far too early to say what effect the story had on events in the Middle East and north Africa but I would guess it would have had some effect,” he said from the stage at London’s Savoy hotel, where the ceremony was held.
Recalling the Guardian’s collaboration with a range of partners on the WikiLeaks story – described by judges as “an enormous story with reverberations around the world” – Rusbridger said the reason why the files had been shared with the New York Times was because the US constitution’s first amendment was the “gold standard for free speech worldwide”.
While libel laws in the UK were now being reformed, he said that he hoped the White House would think carefully about its approach towards Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, and Bradley Manning, the US soldier accused of leaking classified cables to WikiLeaks.
At a time when the eyes of the world will be on how America will react, he appealed to the US administration to be appropriate in its treatment of Manning, who is being held in a military prison after being arrested in May 2010.
The Guardian was also recognised in other categories. Political correspondent Andrew Sparrow, who broke new ground with his live-blogging during the general election, was named Political Journalist of the Year. Amelia Gentleman, who writes on social affairs for the Guardian and has produced a stream of incisive articles charting the human cost of the recession, won the Feature Writer of the Year award.
The Guardian’s sports staff were also recognised when the Special Supplement of the Year award was won by the World Cup 2010 guide.
Adam Gabbatt, who has enthusiastically married social networking technology and other digital media innovation with traditional journalism, was highly commended in the Young Journalist of the Year award.