The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been selected as an official honouree by the 16th Annual Webby Awards for its short documentary depicting the dangerous conditions faced by doctors, nurses and ambulance workers operating on the front lines of Libya's recent armed conflict
The footage was taken by an independent photojournalist, Andre? Liohn, and produced by the ICRC as part of a worldwide campaign to end violence against health workers, facilities and patients.
"Every year, countless people in armed conflicts and other emergencies fall victim to the phenomenon of violence against health care and the resulting inability to find or deliver proper treatment," said Jean Milligan, the head of the ICRC's production unit. "Andre?'s work shows this problem in stark detail... You see doctors in the midst of a firefight, dragging a patient into a warehouse and through a hole in the wall to get him to safety. It's the kind of scene you'd expect to find in an action film. Except that it's real, and what you're seeing is a matter of life and death."
The Webby Awards have been described as the leading international prize honouring excellence on the Internet. Their members are diverse including musicians Beck and David Bowie, internet inventor Vint Cerf, President & Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group Arianna Huffington and Twitter Co-founder Biz Stone. "Of the over 8,000 entries submitted... fewer than 15% were distinguished as an Official Honoree," said the Awards' website. "This honor signifies an outstanding caliber of work."
Mr Liohn said the "real recognition" belonged to the men and women in Libya, who put their own lives on the line to save others. "The courage I witnessed was phenomenal. War often presents people with just a split second to decide to do the right thing... for a soldier to let an ambulance carrying the wounded through a military checkpoint or for a group of rebels to allow doctors to treat injured, enemy fighters," said Mr Liohn. "In the midst of tragedy and great suffering in Libya, I saw the power of humanity and the importance of letting health workers do their jobs safely.