The 2023 Windrush Caribbean Film Awards was the climax to this year’s 4th annual Windrush Caribbean FIlm Festival, marking the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the ship at Tilbury Docks. The event was presented by CaribbeanTales Media Group, Integriti Capital and Recognize Black Heritage & Culture with the support of the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery in order to grow audiences for the festival, focusing on those aged 16-25.
Held at the Genesis Cinema in London last Friday, the closing ceremony red carpet was filled with an array of Caribbean personalities, VIP’s and filmmakers whose films have graced cinema screens around the country as part of the 4th annual Windrush Caribbean Film Festival which took place last month in Southampton, Bristol, Birmingham, Newport and London.
Hosted by Judith Jacob, amongst those in attendance were actor Rudolph Walker and broadcaster Alex Pascall who both received the Paulette Wilson justice award for their long-standing work in the community. The award is named posthumously after the Windrush campaigner who fought tirelessly against deportation to Jamaica, helping to bring the Windrush scandal to national attention in 2016.
Rudolph Walker is best known as Patrick Trueman in BBC’s long running soap EastEnders. He began acting at the age of eight and left his birthplace Trinidad to move to the UK in 1960. By the 1970s, he was well known as one of the first Black actors regularly seen on television screens. Rudolph also set up The Rudolph Walker Foundation in 2009, which helps disadvantaged youth find careers in the arts through inspirational role models and positive activities. He received a CBE for services to drama and charity in 2020.
Alex Pascall was the host of Black Londoners, the first Black daily show in mainstream British broadcasting which ran for 14 years on BBC Radio London from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s. He played a huge role in setting up The Voice newspaper in 1982 and was chairman of the Notting Hill Carnival in 1984. In 1996 he received an OBE for services to community relations.
Also in attendance at the closing ceremony was Adjani Salmon who received the inaugural Menelik Shabazz legacy award (in partnership with Alt A Review), named after the Barbadian filmmaker who died in June 2021 and is considered one of the godfathers of Black British cinema. His body of work includes “Burning an Illusion”, “The Story of Lovers Rock” and “Step Forward Youth” stretching over 40 years. Last year, Adjani received a BAFTA and an RTS award for his breakthrough comedy “Dreaming Whilst Black” which piloted on BBC 1 in 2021 and will air as a full series on BBC 3 later this month.
Friday’s awards also recognized excellence in other categories, including best short film won by director Aaron James Robertson for “Rea’s Men” (starring Josette Simon), the best documentary won by director Gavin Porter for “The Spirit Runs Deep”, and best breakout film won by director Nadine O’Mahony for “Rushed” (starring Cherelle Skeete).
Closing Ceremony highlights
– Singer Leee John introduced his documentary short film “I Love St Lucia”.
– Croydon Poet Laureate Shaniqua Benjamin stirred emotions with a Windrush inspired poetry set.
– Tributes were paid to Barbadian filmmaker Menelik Shabazz in a moving short film including from broadcaster Dotun Adebayo, actor Brian Bovell and comedian Eddie Kadi.
– Co-founder of the Windrush Caribbean Film Festival and CEO of Caribbean Tales Frances Anne Solomon delivered her keynote closing speech via video link from Toronto.
In her closing remarks, Frances Anne Solomon said: “It is our purpose and mission like our Windrush ancestors before us to keep pushing boundaries and breaking down doors. Film, music and art are mediums through which we share our lives, connect with our community and the world. They are how we leave our legacy for generations to come so that they know who we were.”
Can’t comment on NewsClick’s China link, respect media freedom: US
The US government has seen reports of NewsClick’s alleged links to China and is aware of concerns around it though it can’t independently comment on the veracity of those claims. But, as a general principle, the US continues to urge Indian government as well other governments across the world to respect the human rights of journalists, including freedom of expression online and offline.
At a regular State Department briefing on Tuesday, when asked about the raids on the proprietors, staffers and contributors of NewsClick and a New York Times report that the news website was a part of a Chinese influence operation funded through an American businessman, State department‘s principal deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said, “So we are aware of those concerns and have seen that reporting about this outlet’s ties to the PRC (People’s Republic of China), but we can’t comment yet on the veracity of those claims.”
Patel added that, separately, the US strongly supported “the robust role of the media globally, including social media, in a vibrant and free democracy”.
“We raise concerns on these matters with the Indian Government, with countries around the world, through our diplomatic engagements that are, of course, at the core of our bilateral relationship. And we have urged the Indian Government, and have done so not just with India but other countries as well, about the importance of respecting the human rights of journalists, including freedom of expression both online and offline.”
Patel, however, said that he did not have any additional information about “this particular circumstance or any of the underlying issues that may or may not be related to this outlet”.
India’s Latest Media Arrests Put Washington in an Awkward Spot
(Bloomberg) — India’s latest media crackdown puts the US in an awkward position as it seeks to balance promotion of human rights with courting New Delhi to counter the influence of China.
Police in the South Asian country’s capital arrested the editor-in-chief and another employee of online newspaper NewsClick Tuesday under sweeping anti-terrorism laws. Authorities also raided the offices of the publication, without giving a reason.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has been targeting critical independent media since he took office in 2014. NewsClick came to prominence in 2021 for its extensive coverage of farmer protests against government plans to liberalize agriculture. India has previously accused the media organization of having funding ties to China, which it denies.
For Arati Jerath, a New Delhi-based political analyst, the arrests create a challenge for Washington.
“The US does not want to get too involved in India’s domestic affairs,” she said. “They are looking at India through a geopolitical prism and with China in the picture, India is a strategic partner.”
US Department of State spokesman Vedant Patel said he couldn’t comment yet on claims NewsClick has ties to China.
Patel also stressed the importance of press freedom globally. “We raise concerns on these matters with the Indian government, with countries around the world,” he told reporters in Washington.
India has often argued its democracy and vibrant press are a counterpoint to China with its one-party state and heavily controlled media. The US frequently finds itself torn between its efforts to defend human rights around the world and the pragmatic need to partner with governments accused of rights abuses.
India’s government has often used its anti-terrorism law to intimidate and punish journalists. The law, which doesn’t allow for bail, empowers the police to detain suspects for years without leveling official charges.
India has also scrutinized many mobile app and technology companies for alleged links to China after a Himalayan border clash between New Delhi and Beijing in 2020.
In 2021, authorities raided NewsClick’s office and the homes of seven staff members for what they described as improper foreign investments. Several of them were questioned and NewsClick called the allegations “misleading, unfounded and without basis in fact or law.”
In August, the New York Times cited NewsClick as an organization allegedly being used for Chinese propaganda overseas. India’s Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said at the time the media outlet was being funded by Beijing.
Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Thakur said he didn’t need to justify the raids. “If someone has done something wrong, the investigative agencies will work on it,” he said.
NewClick’s human resources head Amit Chakravarty was also arrested. Several employees’ laptops and mobile phones were seized. Local media reported at least 30 premises were raided, including the homes of six NewsClick reporters.
India fell to 161st of 180 countries and territories in a press freedom ranking by Reporters Without Borders, a press advocacy group, this year. In February, authorities raided the BBC’s offices in New Delhi, weeks after the British broadcaster aired a documentary about Modi’s role in 2002 riots in his home state of Gujarat.
Last year, Mohammad Zubair, a journalist running a fact-checking website, Alt News, was arrested after highlighting anti-Islamic comments made by former BJP officials.
The Press Club of India expressed concern about the arrests and raid, saying it wants the government to explain its actions. The group plans to protest the detentions at a march Wednesday.
Jerath, the analyst, questioned India’s move to arrest the people under the terrorism law without providing details or evidence.
“You have already labeled them as terrorists,” she said.
(Updates with details on the crackdown. An earlier story corrected paragraph 11 to show authorities raided the homes of seven NewsClick staff members in 2021.)
What is NewsClick? A look at India’s media crackdown – Al Jazeera English
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