Top award for Independent writer

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The Independent Online

Martin Hickman, The Independent's Consumer Affairs Correspondent, has been named Journalist of the Year at the prestigious Foreign Press Association's Media Awards.

His investigation into the environmental damage done by the world's cheapest vegetable oil, palm oil, beat news reports from the BBC, Channel 4, Wall Street Journal and The Daily Telegraph's coverage of the MPs' expenses scandal, which was commended.

Published in the Saturday magazine on 2 May, "The Guilty Secrets of Palm Oil" also won the environment category at a ceremony at the Park Lane Hotel organised by foreign correspondents based in London. The 3,000-word feature revealed how palm oil – whose production destroys rainforests and threatens the survival of the orang-utan – is found in half of best-selling food brands.

Nestlé, Marks & Spencer, Cadbury and Mars have subsequently committed to moving to a sustainable supply. The judges said that the piece was an original investigation, on an important subject, by an individual journalist.

The Independent's Johann Hari was shortlisted for best feature story for "The Dark Side of Dubai".

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