In a ceremony held at north London's Alexandra Palace to mark this year's "18 Awards" for adult media and entertainment, the newspaper was praised for its influential campaign to decriminalise cannabis use in Britain, which began last September. Judges, from print and broadcast media, singled out the IOS campaign as worthy of its own unique award.
The event was hosted byMark Lamarr and Ulrika Jonsson. The IOS award was accepted by Real Life's Callum McGeoch.
Others awarded for helping to push back social boundaries included Time Out magazine, former Independent columnist Helen Fielding, comedian Paul Whitehouse and the controversial radio broadcaster Chris Morris. The Prodigy won in the best music category, Crash as best film for 1997 and the Royal Academy of Art's Sensation show was picked as best exhibition.
The awards, in their second year, are designed to encourage freedom of expression. They are organised by Henry Cobbold and his company Wambam, the same group behind the newly-launched national "Classification not Censorship" campaign.
"This was the most important award of all," said Mr Cobbold, heir to the Knebworth estate. "Papers are becoming more and more conservative, but of all the broadsheets the IOS is the one that stands out."
In keeping with the Mardi Gras theme of the evening, the waiters and waitresses wore only body paint and the walls of the palace were decorated with nude living statues.Reuse content