Video journalist Yaara Bou Melhem has won the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award.
Tuesday, June 21, 2011 - 21:30

Dateline video journalist Yaara Bou Melhem has won this year's Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Award.

Yaara received the overall award after also winning in the television category for February's story from Syria, Freedom's Call, which looked at the people's democracy movement and the government's hardline stance against discontent.

The judges were impressed by Yaara's courage, resourcefulness, storytelling and technical expertise... "Yaara took significant personal risks by venturing into Syria and her work has shone a light on the lengths to which the Syrian Government would go to silence its critics," the judges said.

Yaara also previously won the TV award in 2009 for her Dateline report, Jordan - Jailing the Innocent, about women imprisoned under the guise of keeping them safe. She was also nominated for her work on SBS's Living Black in 2010.

Dateline has won the television category every year since the awards started in 2008, with video journalist Sophie McNeill winning in 2008 and 2010. Sophie also took the overall Young Journalist of the Year Award in 2008.

More than 110 journalists, aged 26 or under, submitted entries this year and 15 finalists were chosen across five categories... print, radio, television, online and photography.

The winner was announced at a ceremony in Sydney on 21st June.

WATCH - See Yaara's winning story, Freedom's Call, and read more about it.

VIDEO EXTRA - Yaara gives her reaction to winning the award for her Dateline story.

PHOTO GALLERY - Look through some of the photos from the award ceremony.

WALKLEYS - Find out more about the Walkley Young Australian Journalist of the Year Awards.