Tanya Fowles, a court reporter and Local Democracy journalist in Northern Ireland who works for The Impartial Reporter, has been named winner of the Chartered Institute of Journalists’ (CIoJ) first “Journalist of the Year’ award.

Ms. Fowles previously received the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporter of the Year award in 2022.

She has been recognised for a rich, powerful, and wide-ranging portfolio of journalism, which includes stories published by The Impartial Reporter such as, ‘Police Ombudsman enquiries into failures around an investigation into the murder of a 21-year-old’, and ‘The sexual assault of a vulnerable young person by a key worker’.

Congratulating Ms. Fowles on her latest award, the Editor of The Impartial Reporter, Rodney Edwards, said: “Congratulations to Tanya for winning this award for her outstanding journalism. Thank you, Tanya, for all you do for us. I am delighted that your efforts in fighting for open justice have been recognised at this prestigious event.”

Ms. Fowles was recognised for seeking to halt a developing trend for courts that issue anonymity orders for trial defendants who say that publicity may cause them to self-harm.

Congratulating Ms. Fowles at the awards ceremony held in London last Thursday, October 26, Professor Tim Crook, Chairman of the CIoJ Professional Practices Board, says she is a tenacious, passionate and effective advocate of Open Justice, and the right to know through fair, accurate and public interest reporting of the criminal justice system, as well as the investigation and holding to account of public bodies.

Hailing Ms. Fowles as an exemplar and model for journalists everywhere, he said: “She has been challenging the growing practice of unjustifiable anonymity orders for many years.”

Prof. Crook further continued: “Light must be shone into the dark recesses, to ensure the public can have confidence and all of us are answerable.

“As far as I’m concerned, the press is the Fourth Estate, and are essential to ensuring the other three branches of our constitution do so in a fit and proper way.”

He added: “The respect and the admiration of the Institute for [Ms. Fowles’] work recognises that her advocacy for openness and truth for her readers, and her indefatigable and impressive assertion of journalists’ rights, is largely an individual endeavour.

“She does not have legions of media lawyers and the deep pockets of large media corporations to support her.

“She brings intelligence, precision and an outstanding cogency of her arguments, combined with the experience of a dedicated professional journalist to the courtrooms and judges she challenges. Such interventions substantially add to the stress, burden and workload of a busy and conscientious journalist with a demanding news beat.”

Ms. Fowles’ campaigns and representations have also been extensively reported on by the trade press in recent years.