SINGAPORE: CNA has been recognised as Channel of the Year by the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB), the global trade association for broadcast journalism.
The channel beat out fellow nominees BBC News Persian, CNN International and Iran International TV for the prize, the UK-based AIB announced on Friday (Nov 13).
"2020 started as a busy year for CNA covering the Hong Kong riots and the global implications of the relationship with China - a story well and truly 'on their doorstep'," the AIB said.
"CNA's workload became even heavier as a once in a lifetime event hit the entire planet. Not only was the pandemic a major story, it also brought immense challenges to the way broadcasters themselves could work."
The channel rose to these challenges, with its coverage of the pandemic becoming "another defining moment" in CNA's history, the AIB said.
"They are well positioned to 'Understand Asia' and have reported on global developments, with Asian perspectives, for over two decades," the association added.
It highlighted CNA's 2019 Celebrate Asia campaign, which sought audience submissions to create online chatter about what they love about Asia and "(evokes) a sense of pride that resonates with the fact that CNA is an Asian brand".
"Our judges noted the clear and coherent news editorial values. They also observed that CNA had more local correspondents covering the news, which is more reflective of their audience," the AIB said.
It added: "Judges were impressed with the varied content on offer, the channel’s meaningful engagement with multiple social media platforms and the presentation of a clear cultural identity.
"That coupled with compelling on-air talent and polished and demonstrable production skills made CNA a deserving winner."
"AMAZING COLLECTIVE EFFORT"
The award reflects the "amazing collective effort" of CNA's team, said Mr Walter Fernandez, editor-in-chief of Mediacorp, in a media release on Tuesday.
"We are honoured to receive this prestigious accolade on the global stage from the AIB. The factors cited by the international panel of judges for CNA's win are a validation of the aggressive transformation that CNA has undertaken in recent years as well as the editorial values and desire for excellence that the newsroom has embraced," he said.
"This award is the product of an amazing collective effort despite the most challenging of circumstances and will motivate all of us at CNA to continue serving our audiences as a trusted source of news," Mr Fernandez added.
CNA was established in March 1999 by Mediacorp.
Ms Tham Loke Kheng, CEO of Mediacorp, said the company would respond to this "strong validation" by striving to do "even better every day".
"I am very proud of the CNA team's commitment to journalistic excellence, which is needed now more than ever in a fragmented media landscape.
"During these times, it is important to have a trusted voice with an Asian perspective," Ms Tham said in a media release.
Speaking at the AIB awards after the win was announced, CNA presenter Dawn Tan said that gaining deeper insight into Asia required having "absolutely no preconceptions".
"By staying true to that objectivity and integrity, CNA has helped people around the world to truly understand Asia," a region that "epitomises diversity", Ms Tan said.
Asked about the channel's highlights of the past year, Ms Tan singled out CNA's role as host broadcaster of the Trump-Kim summit in 2018 and its coverage of the Hong Kong protests in 2019.
"It was our most extensive ground deployment to date," she said of the channel's coverage in Hong Kong.
"Not only did we report on one of the most important stories that was happening right here in Asia every night, but also we moved our flagship morning news bulletin to the city. We did that for an entire week," Ms Tan said.
"And this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CNA not only told the personal tales of lockdowns, fear and isolation through several hours of documentaries and digital exclusives, but we were also one of the first in the world to launch a COVID-19 map" with live-tracking of the disease's spread, she added.
CNA productions were also highly commended in two other categories: The Skin We Wear, about a rare skin genetic disorder, was recognised in the Human Interest TV and Video category; and Coded World, about the impact of computer code on everyday lives, in the Science and Technology category.
The AIBs, as the awards are known, have been given out annually since 2005. This year's prizes were awarded by an international panel of 48 judges. BBC World News, Channel 4, CNN and Al Jazeera English were some of the other winners in various categories this year.