The BBC’s kidnapped Gaza correspondent Alan Johnston has been shortlisted for the broadcasting journalist of the year prize at the London Press Club Awards.
The nomination comes as the BBC demands urgent clarification over an unsubstantiated claim that Johnston has been killed by an Islamist group.
A previously unknown Palestinian group, The Brigades of Tawheed and Jihad, claimed yesterday to have executed Johnston.
Johnston was nominated for the London Press Club award before his abduction on March 12.
Channel 4’s controller of news and current affairs, Dorothy Byrne, and Sky News crime reporter Martin Brunt have also been shortlisted for the award, one of six that will be handed out at a ceremony at Claridge’s hotel on May 10.
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, who called for Johnston’s release in his Easter sermon, will be the guest of honour.
The award for daily newspaper of the year will be fought out between the Daily Mail, the Daily Mirror and the Daily Telegraph.
The Mail on Sunday, the Observer and the Sunday Times have been nominated for best Sunday newspaper.
The battle for scoop of the year is between Stephen Moyes of the Daily Mirror, who revealed John Prescott’s affair with Tracy Temple; Jeff Randall for his Daily Telegraph story about Michael Grade defecting to ITV; and Sarah Sands, whose Daily Mail interview with army boss Sir Richard Dannatt revealed that he believed British troops should leave Iraq.