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CNN scoops IRE Awards for Benghazi and Mauritania coverage

updated 1:04 PM EDT, Fri April 12, 2013
  • CNN has been awarded two Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) awards
  • The network was honored for its Benghazi and Mauritania coverage
  • The accolades are the first time CNN has scooped multiple awards in the same year

(CNN) -- CNN has triumphed at the 2012 Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Awards, winning two accolades in the breaking news and multiplatform categories in San Antonio, Texas Wednesday.

The IRE Awards, which recognize the most outstanding watchdog journalism of the year, announced CNN's coverage of the U.S. Consulate attack in Benghazi as the winner of the "Investigations Triggered By Breaking News" category.

Jeff Zucker, President of CNN Worldwide, described the award-winning pieces as "powerful and provocative acts of journalism."

Read the IRE winners announcement

The judging panel highlighted CNN senior international correspondent Arwa Damon's "courageous reporting" in Benghazi, saying it "provided valuable context about the milieu in which the consulate attack occurred."

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Judges commented that: "CNN correspondent Arwa Damon and photojournalist Sarmad Qaseera arrived quickly in Benghazi to find valuable clues in the wide-open but looted and burned ruins of the consulate. Damon's stories refuted reports that the attack on the consulate was part of larger anti-American demonstrations throughout the Middle East."

WATCH: What Damon saw in U.S. Consulate

The judges said Damon provided insight into the mind of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the September attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi. Her coverage examined conditions in Libya leading up to the attack and revealed Stevens' concerns over what he called the security threats in the city and a rise in Islamic extremism.

Judges also praised the CNN Digital investigation "Slavery's Last Stronghold," which explored oppression in Mauritania. Awarding the investigation the "Multiplatform -- Large" award, they said it upheld "the highest ideals of journalism."

Read: Slavery's Last Stronghold investigation

CNN digital reporters John D. Sutter and Edythe McNamee exposed the lack of prosecution for slavery and continued oppression of citizens in Mauritania, which was the last in the world to outlaw the practice.

These accolades mark the first time CNN has been crowned in multiple categories at the IRE Awards in the same year.

In February, CNN won "News Channel of the Year" at the Royal Television Society Awards in London, while last November, the international news network was also honored with three awards for its outstanding storytelling efforts at the Foreign Press Association Media awards.

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