An investigation into Windrush Repatriations by Navtej Johal for BBC News was named Report of the Year at the Asian Media Awards.
The stars of radio, TV and broadcasting gathered at the 11th AMA ceremony at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Friday (27 October).
The awards, which are supported by the University of Salford, celebrated winners in a range of categories in journalism, stage, online and creative media and were hosted by Magic FM’s Neev Spencer.
‘Windrush Repatriations’ from Navtej Johal for BBC News revealed that the UK government repatriated hundreds of people of the Windrush generation in the 1960s who suffered from mental health, back to the Caribbean. It prompted them to admit that it was a ‘historic injustice’.
An emotional Navtej said the story was about parents and their children and resonated with people from the world.
Navtej said: “I started speaking to people who were part of the Windrush Generation and through that I started learning about a practice that was going through the 1960s of a process where people of the Windrush generation who became mentally ill in the UK were being sent back to the Caribbean.
“These were meant to be voluntary repatriations. Unfortunately in many cases, the way they should have happened did not happen. There were many families torn apart. People’s live were ruined as a result of this practice.”
Earlier on stage, Navtej said the story was about parents and paid an emotional tribute to his late father noting that when he got his first story in The Guardian his father went out and bought all the copies at his local newsagents to hand out to people.
The report was the first time that the scale of the scheme had ever been unveiled and led to the first public acknowledgement of its devastating impact on people, including the families torn apart by the practice.
The story took months of research at the National Archives, tracking down children of the repatriates who had never spoken about their family stories before, and, in one astonishing case, revealing to a woman that her father had been repatriated due to mental illness rather than abandoned her, as she had always believed.
There are now calls for an inquiry from the families after legal experts questioned whether the practice was lawful.
Navtej’s investigation featured on all BBC national TV news bulletins, the BBC World Service Radio, a podcast and on the BBC website. It was also reported in The Guardian and Financial Times newspapers.
This year’s Asian Media Awards winners were announced at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Friday October 27.
Previous recipients of an Asian Media Award include Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Waris Hussein, Art Malik, Mehdi Hasan, Nina Wadia, Anita Rani, Shobna Gulati, Faisal Islam, Adil Ray & Lisa Aziz.
The University of Salford are Premier Partners to the Asian Media Awards.
Partners to the awards include ITV, EssenceMediaCom, Reach PLC & Women In Journalism.
The awards are also supported by Manchester Metropolitan University, AMT Lawyers, DKR Accountants, Opus Broadband, Hilton Manchester Deansgate, Fritz AV, Payal Events & Cleartwo.