The Michael Kelly Award

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Kristen Gelineau, Todd Pitman, Esther Htusan



The Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar are one of the most oppressed minority groups in the world. Kristen Gelineau, Todd Pitman, and Esther Htusan of the Associated Press bore witness to their suffering and, in the process, exposed as lies the government explanations of their brutal persecution. Gelineau revealed the systematic rape of Rohingya women by Myanmar security forces. “There was a sickening sameness to their stories,” she discovered. Pitman investigated the massacre of more than 82 Rohingya in a village, part of an Army campaign that drove some 650,000 refugees into Bangladesh. And Htusan, a native Myanmar journalist, showed how the government had fabricated evidence against the Rohingya. Facing death threats and possible imprisonment, she had to flee her own country because of her reporting.



Kristen Gelineau, 38, joined the Associated Press in Washington state in 2002. For the next six years, she worked in AP bureaus in Seattle, Olympia, Wash., Cleveland and Richmond, Va., covering politics, health, crime, and courts. In Virginia, she led AP’s coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre. In 2008, she transferred to AP’s bureau in Sydney, Australia, where she has written about everything from Aboriginal rights to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. She has covered disasters across the Asia-Pacific region, including the 2010 tsunami in Sumatra, Indonesia, and Japan’s 2011 tsunami and nuclear crisis. In 2012, she was promoted to chief of bureau for Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, and in 2018 was appointed to AP’s new global enterprise team. Gelineau, a New Hampshire native, holds a degree in journalism from Boston University.



Todd Pitman is global enterprise writer for the Associated Press based in Bangkok, Thailand. He has worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia for more than two decades. Pitman, 47, began his career in the late 1990s covering the civil war in Burundi. Since joining the Associated Press in 2001, he has served as chief correspondent in Afghanistan and bureau chief in West Africa and Southeast Asia. He has covered myriad natural disasters and reported from front-lines in Iraq and Afghanistan during some of the bloodiest days of the conflicts there. He won the Associated Press Managing Editors Award for feature writing in 2008 and was named journalist of the year by the Society of Professional Publishers in Asia in 2014. In 2015-2016, he was awarded a yearlong fellowship at Harvard University by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism.



Since joining The Associated Press five years ago, Esther Htusan, 30, has relentlessly pursued stories about human rights abuses in Myanmar following a half-century of dictatorship.  Her interest in covering Rohingya Muslims was almost unheard of in a country where much of the population, including local journalists, looked upon members of the long-persecuted minority with disdain. When Htusan joined the investigation into forced labor in Southeast Asia’s fishing industry, her compassion and resourcefulness in reporting led to some of the most powerful images the world has seen about modern day slavery, for which the AP was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize.




Rohingya Methodically Raped by Myanmar’s Armed Forces

Rohingya Survivors: Myanmar’s Army Slaughtered Men, Children

Myanmar Attacks, Sea Voyage Rob Young Father of Everything

‘Proof’ of Rohingya-Set Fires in Myanmar Fails Inspection

In Strife-Torn Myanmar, Love Trumps Hate for a Rare Couple



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