|The Athenagoras Human Rights Award is presented to Jeff Fager, CBS News President and '60 Minutes' Executive Producer. (Photos by J. Mindala)
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The Order of St. Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate awarded the prestigious Athenagoras Human Rights Award to the CBS News television program 60 Minutes at the New York Hilton's Grand Ballroom on Saturday Night.
Honorees included, Jeff Fager, CBS News President and 60 Minutes Executive Producer; Bill Owens, Executive Editor; Bob Simon, Senior Correspondent; Harry A. Radliffe, II, Producer; Michael Karzis, Co-Producer; Magalie Laguerre, Associate Producer and Christopher Albert and Wim DeVos, cameramen.
The Athenagoras Human Rights Award was presented to the 60 Minutes team because of their perilous work to expose the Turkish government's negative treatment of minority religions, including that of the Ecumenical Patriachate in their December 2009 segment titled The Patriarch. Had it not been for the CBS news program's work, Turkey's actions would continue on unknown to the rest of the world.
"I ask you, in Turkey, can Orthodox Christians or other religious minorities train their own clergy at their own schools? NO!
…In Turkey, do Christians, whether they are Roman Catholic, Protestant, Aramean or non-Christians including Jews…. or Alevi Muslims…. have a bona fide legal personality? NO," remarked an emotional, Anthony Limberakis, M.D., the Archon National Commander, who presented the award.
|The '60 Minutes' news team.|
Dr. Limberakis went on to state that 60 Minutes masterfully combined two of the quintessential elements of the First Amendment in the segment: Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Religion to shed light on a critical issue to the Orthodox faith, which many in the world had never previously acknowledged. Dr. Limberakis went on to note that the news program's positive work didn't stop there,
"With the encouragement of His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, 60 Minutes has gone on to air insightful programs about Mount Athos and the Exodus of Christians from the Holy Land."
His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America also presented the award and commented that "We congratulate this evening the CBS Television news program 60 Minutes for providing to His All-Holiness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the valuable opportunity to voice his pain over the religious suppression and violation of religious freedom endured by the Patriarchate. I pray that they will continue to work in the public interest as they heighten the awareness and understanding of important issues of our time and partner with the public in the community of which they are a vital part."
CBS News President Jeff Fager graciously accepted the award for their humanitarian efforts remarking, "We have a very strong culture at 60 Minutes and it really involves covering what's important …… in some cases covering what is important involving human rights and religious freedoms." He added, "We try to give voice to people who don't have it otherwise and we like to cover things that some people would rather not be told."
60 Minutes has been one of the most rewarded news programs in television history. This groundbreaking 46-year old institution has won more Emmy Awards than any other primetime broadcast in the history of television, including a special Lifetime Achievement Emmy. It has also won every major broadcast journalism award over its tenure, including 20 Peabody and 14 duPont-Columbia University awards for excellence in television broadcasting.
60 Minutes joins past recipients of the Athenagoras Human Rights Award, including President Jimmy Carter, President George H.W. Bush, Mother Teresa, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel and Mikhail Gorbachev.
CONTACT: George Gigicos, 561-400-3604, [email protected]