The 2019 One World Media Award winners were announced at a ceremony at BAFTA on Monday 17 June. Hosted by Jon Snow, the 31st Annual Awards celebrated outstanding work from all media platforms and across a wide range of genres.
Short Film Award
ITN for Channel 4 News
Journalist: Guillermo Galdos
Producer: Thom Walker
Editor: Tariq Sheikh
Filmmaker Guillermo Galdos spent months following two families who, with tens of thousands of others, were so desperate to flee the destruction and poverty in their homelands that they risked everything in their attempt to make it to the United States. This is the story of two women: one travelling through Mexico, bound for the US, desperate to find a safe life with her children, and another who had already made the journey, but was deported back to Guatemala without her daughters. This film is a rare insight into the reality of Trump’s family separation policy and captures the dramatic and difficult situations that result from it.
“Amazing and dedicated journalism bringing a very important issue to audiences outside the US and really giving a voice to those who are often reduced to stats in news reports. A powerful narrative, with the right balance of emotion and drama to keep this important story engaging.”
Short Film Award Jury
Children in Conflict Reporting Award
Sponsored by Save the Children
Vice for HBO
Correspondent/Producer: Isobel Yeung
Producer: David McDougal
Editor: Joe Langford
Iraq has one of the youngest populations of any country in the world. The campaign to defeat Islamic State there is the latest chapter in a cycle of violence that began with the 2003 US-led invasion. When IS swept through Iraq in 2014, ultimately claiming control of a third of the country, its ranks were filled with young, disenfranchised Sunnis who were driven more by grievances with the Iraqi government than by devotion to Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate. After years of conflict, virtually every aspect of the country has been crippled. But now, with Islamic State seemingly on the verge of defeat, the question of what happens next is far from certain. Isobel Yeung travels to Iraq to see what the future looks like through the eyes of the youth.
“Correspondent Isobel Yeung really interacted well with the young Iraqi’s who she interviewed, and wasn’t intimidated by the powerful government official, militia leader or Islamic cleric who all tried to impress and patronise her.
We particularly liked the way Yeung introduced us to 16 year old, Haider Salah, driving a bus to make money for his family in Bagdad, and then contrasted this with the horrific images of ISIS fighters that he keeps on his phone as he explains, “Our guys cut off the heads. Some took the hearts out.” It was chilling to realise that the coolly dressed kid was happier on the battlefield killing people, than driving his bus.
Yeung was excellent and the film had a strong narrative and was well shot. It really illustrated the dire circumstances that children face in a country decimated by 15 years of conflict.”
Children in Conflict Reporting Award Jury
Radio and Audio Award
Supported by EBU
BBC World Service
Presenter: Linda Pressly
Producer/Local Producer: Josephine Casserly & Chimezie UcheAgbo
Editor: Bridget Harney
A serious and impressive piece of journalism, this hard-hitting programme takes listeners through the stages of an investigation into new mothers who are effectively being held prisoner over unpaid medical bills. Hospital detentions in Nigeria are a problem of staggering proportions. One hospital alone told the BBC that 3,000 patients are kept after discharge each month because they can’t pay their bills. Only 5% of Nigerians are covered by health insurance and very few health services are free of charge – so if you can’t pay, you may not be able to go home. Linda Pressly explores the widespread abuse – meeting victims, campaigners and the hospital staff attempting to manage their budgets in a health system under enormous pressure.
“This was serious, impressive journalism with a strong narrative which took us through the stages of an investigation into new mothers effectively being held prisoner over unpaid hospital bills.
The women’s stories were moving but not manipulative. Government ministers and hospitals were challenged and forced to defend the practice. Wider structural problems of Nigerian society and healthcare were addressed as well as possible solutions. The inclusion of an interviewee who regularly comes forward to pay hospital bills for those who cannot afford them, raising money through social media, was a heart-warming addition. A very worthy winner. “
Radio Award Jury
Sarah Cowan | Open City Docs MA Ethnographic Film at UCL
This creative and engaging film sheds light on Malaysia’s hidden issue of statelessness. Following the filmmaker’s stateless mother, who was born in Brunei to Malaysian parents in the early 1960s, it documents the final stages of her latest attempt to gain citizenship. Anak Malaysia, meaning ‘child of Malaysia’, explores the complex relationship between citizenship and belonging by embarking on a journey of discovery concerning her predicament, right up until she receives the final verdict. Elements of humour and light-hearted conversation give viewers a brief respite to what is, essentially, a very tragic situation.
“With amazing access and incredible use of technology, this film showcases the personal troubles of the stateless mother of the filmmaker. Elements of comedy and lighthearted conversation give the audience a light respite to what is a very tragic situation. The film is littered with amazing shots and a fantastic voice over which holds the story together. Scenes did not drag on, nor did the voice over stray from the clear journey the filmmaker wants to take the audience on. A very well made, creative and engaging film.”
Student Award Jury
Environmental Reporting Award
Rachel Nuwer for National Geographic
Journalist: Rachel Nuwer
Photographer: Linh Pham
This cutting-edge investigative feature delves into a growing trend in Vietnamese cuisine – the cultivation of a new, dangerous market for megafish, which threatens to tip several Mekong River species into extinction. Journalist Rachel Nuwer travelled extensively to break this story, visiting restaurants specialising in megafish, floating villages in Cambodia where poor fishermen poach the last of the river giants at the bidding of Vietnamese traffickers, and an aquaculture station where conservationists hold out hope for bringing the species back from the brink. Following publication, Vietnamese authorities introduced giant fish into environmental training for law enforcement officers and began planning a raid of restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City, demonstrating the vital role that journalism plays in sparking policy change.
“This investigative feature has everything you want as a reader – drama, pace, villains, good guys, twists and, finally, a story arc that resolves, if not positively per se, with at least some sense of hope.
You are taken from a fancy restaurant in Danang, Vietnam, through fishing ports of Cambodia up to the headwaters of the Mekong in the Tibetan Plateau – and back. This journey tells the tale of the river’s giant catfish which have become a prized item of luxury and status in the region’s restaurants. But the article’s foundation is what drives so much environmental journalism – the unsustainable, potentially devastating tension and consequence of supply meeting demand.
We learn about the lives of the fishermen on the Mekong who catch these magnificent “monster” fish, just as we learn about the motivations of those who desire to both serve and eat them. The dilemmas facing regulators are also addressed. And while Nuwer’s meticulously researched words are blessed with a rich, emotive blend of colour and context, Pham’s photographs and video significantly add to the sense of atmosphere. It is also to be commended that National Geographic has taken the time to translate the article so it can be more easily consumed locally.”
Environmental Reporting Award Jury
Television Documentary Award
Sponsored by European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
BBC Africa Eye
Producer/Director: Charlie Northcott
Executive Producer/Reporter: Adejuwon Soyinka
Reporter: Ruona Meyer
The journalistic, investigative and personal come together in this moving and highly impactful investigation into the epidemic of codeine cough syrup addiction in Nigeria. Through intrepid undercover filming, the team exposed the criminal activities of seemingly legitimate pharmacies as they illegally sold industrial quantities of the prescription-only product to disreputable businessmen. The reporter’s own personal connection to the issue added a greater urgency and an emotional weight to the story. The strength of its journalism was reflected in its lasting impact, when, after airing, Nigeria banned the production and import of codeine cough syrup – a remarkable achievement.
“The journalistic, investigative and personal all came together to deliver a moving and highly impactful investigation on the problem of codeine cough syrup addiction in Nigeria. The team exposed the criminal activities of seemingly legitimate pharmacies through intrepid undercover filming and were able to expose the corruption at the source. The reporter’s own personal connection to the issue added more urgency to the story. This film was underpinned by strong journalism which delivered a powerful impact – after airing Nigeria banned the production and import of codeine cough syrup. A remarkable achievement.”
Television Documentary Award Jury
Popular Features Award
Elle UK with The Fuller Project
Director/Producer/Journalist: Louise Donovan
DOP/Videographer: Smita Sharma
A woman is raped every 13 minutes in India. As the situation reaches desperate proportions, one police commissioner thinks there might be an answer. In the city of Jaipur, an all-female police squad mounted on motorbikes patrols the streets to keep women safe. Rebels With A Cause brings a fresh perspective to the issue of violence against women in India, documenting this revolutionary squad of 52 policewomen as it launches. Accompanied by award-winning Indian photographer Smita Sharma, ELLE UK’s Louise Donovan travelled to India to join these trailblazing women on duty as they tackle crimes like harassment, rape, molestation and assault.
“Rebels with a Cause brings a fresh perspective to the issue of violence against women in India, enabling a complex story to reach a new, broader audience. The story access and commendable editorial coverage tackling a complex story is particularly impressive.“
Popular Features Award Jury
Sarah Helm for The Guardian
Journalist: Sarah Helm
Editor: Clare Longrigg
In August 2017, a talented young Palestinian writer killed himself in his family home in Gaza City. Such was his literary acclaim in the Arab world that his death sent shockwaves across the Middle East and brought to light a hitherto underreported aspect of Gaza’s growing tragedy: an upsurge in suicides. The misery of the siege and widespread sense of despair about the future has led thousands – mothers, grandfathers, students, children – to break the taboo that deters Muslims from taking their own lives. This comprehensive and compassionate piece of journalism uncovers hidden layers of the human tragedy in the Gaza Strip, with rare access to its people and their untold stories. It tackles a sensitive issue with integrity and balance, accurately reflecting the sense of desperation and hopelessness that Palestinians experience under occupation.
“Overall, we praised the high quality and calibre of the stories presented in the long-list. It was evident that each candidate had spent a lot of time, thought and invested in their subjects.
The winner, A Suicide In Gaza, is a very powerful piece of journalism that uncovers hidden layers of the human tragedy in the Gaza Strip. The author had rare access to people and their untold stories.
The piece tackles the rising numbers of suicide in Gaza mirroring the sense of despair and hopelessness Palestinians experience under occupation. The author went in depth, contextualising the conflict internally and externally. The narrative is vivid and allows readers to imagine the places and people featured and to share the daily sad reality the Gazans are subject to. The daily hardship and suffering people witness is presented brilliantly and accurately. It made us sense what living in an open prison feels like. Suicide is a very difficult subject to address and it becomes even more so when it comes to societies that view the act as social and religious taboo. The author managed to explore and report on the issue sensitively and fairly. The article is comprehensive, well written and structured and, most importantly, compassionate.”
Print Award Jury
Democratic Republic of Congo: The Forgotten Tragedy
Correspondent: Alex Crawford
Producer: Nick Ludlam
Cameraman/Editor: Guy Siggers
This strong, emotional account of the horrors and barbarity faced by those displaced by internal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo is told through the voices of children and their parents. The team gained rare access to villages practically destroyed in recent clashes, and found homes burned, hospitals looted, and survivors abandoned. Reporting on a truly shocking story in a compassionate, human way, Democratic Republic of Congo: The Forgotten Tragedy unpacks a complex situation that demands intervention. The testimonies of the victims triggered an outpouring of support for local charities, particularly those focused on children struggling to come to terms with the turmoil of the atrocities they have endured.
“This was a strong, emotional account of the horror faced by some among the millions displaced by internal conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, told through the voices of children and parents. It’s a truly shocking story conveyed in a compassionate, human way that draws in the audience and leaves a lasting impression. Working in a potentially risky situation, the reporting team unpacks a complex situation that demands intervention on the part of the viewer.”
News Award Jury
Digital Media Award
Sponsored by Google News Initiative
AJ Labs for Al Jazeera Digital Division
Journalist/Photographer: Marc Ellison
Illustrator: Samuel Iwunze
This piece explores a major human rights issue through a highly original and impressively accessible format: a graphic novel. Highly detailed illustrations and photographs document the disturbing trend of young Nigerian children accused of witchcraft, showing their journey from persecution to rehabilitation. This investigation had several important outcomes: exposing how “prophets” at several churches were conducting exorcisms on vulnerable children for money; revealing a lack of funding that resulted in the failure of police to investigate attacks; and the influence of Nollywood movies in perpetuating belief in witchcraft amongst Nigerian communities. Designed to work across multiple platforms and reach a variety of audiences, this piece highlights, above all, the immense power of innovative storytelling as a tool for societal change.
“The Digital Jury was extremely impressed by this highly accessible work about a major human rights issue: the disturbing story of young Nigerian children accused by older family members of witchcraft, using tropes from Nollywood cinema to hide abuse or the adults’ own shortcomings.
This work highlights the power of storytelling and how dangerous it can become once it is divorced from the truth.
The jury particularly liked the combination of graphic novel imagery with film and how the story was made to work across across web, mobile and publishing – reaching intended audiences across each platform.”
Digital Media Award Jury
New Voice Award
Twenty-seven-year-old Yen Duong is an independent Vietnamese journalist and photographer whose courageous work places a focus on human stories that are often neglected in the media. Her unflinching and bold work this year covered Vietnamese domestic workers in Saudi Arabia forced into modern slavery; explored the impact of rapid urbanisation on marginalised communities in southern Vietnam, and looked at the devastating consequences of extreme weather on Vietnam’s ethnic minorities. Her months-long project “From Vietnam, without Love: The Child Brides of China” has received international praise for telling stories of young Vietnamese women who were trafficked and sold to China as teenagers.
“Despite an exceptional group of entries – all of whom showed great originality, determination and initiative, the jury were unanimous in awarding Yen Duong first prize in the New Voices category for her outstanding body of work. Yen, in both her writing and photography, showed great courage and clear long term commitment to her subjects and their stories. Her work is unflinching, bold and empathetic – avoiding cliches and allowing the personalities of her subjects, albeit in extreme situations, to shine through.”
New Voice Award Jury
Feature Documentary Award
Afghanistan Doc House, Films du Tambour de Soie, Marmitafilms
Director/Producer: Sahra Mani
Editor: Giles Gardner
This film, singled out for its nuanced, observational storytelling and intimate access to Khatera, the main contributor, elevates the topic of sexual abuse above the grim and grueling, to reveal new insights into systemic misogyny and entrenched injustice in the domestic and political spheres. Despite the extreme abuse she suffered, Khatera manages to maintain her fighting spirit, and her admirable bravery carries audiences through the film. Exquisite cinematography and an eye for the small, but telling, details are hallmarks of this compassionate piece, which demonstrates the power of action over fear.
“The judges unanimously singled out A Thousand Girls Like Me from the selection for its nuanced observational storytelling and the quality of the access to main contributor Khatera.
At first glance a film about the abuse of women in Afghanistan might feel well worn ground, but this film elevates the topic above grim and gruelling viewing to reveal new insights into systemic misogyny and entrenched injustice at the level of family, as well as the state. Khatera – despite the extreme abuse she suffered – manages, unbelievably, to maintain her fighting spirit and her admirable bravery carries us through the film. Exquisite camera work and an eye for the small, but telling, details are hallmarks of this compassionate film which never casts Khatera as just a victim.”
Feature Documentary Award Jury
Refugee Reporting Award
Sponsored by British Red Cross
True Vision Wales for Channel 4
Director/Camera: Ludo Graham
Executive Producer: Brian Woods
Editors: Paddy Garrick & Michael Percival
What’s it like to arrive as a child in a strange land, not speaking the language, having fled violence and destruction at home? For those young people who make it to Britain, sanctuary away from the bombs and the bullets is life changing. This refreshing and genuinely moving programme follows Abdul, his sister Rawan and four other refugee children over six months as they adapt to new lives in Cardiff and Newport. Abdul and Rawan arrive with their refugee status already confirmed. For others, like Omar and Mariam, the first few months here are a tense wait for Home Office interviews and decisions, as their future hangs in the balance.
Special mention to:
Unreported World: Venezuela’s Lost Children – Channel 4
“A refreshing and engaging watch, this programme was full of compelling stories, full of warmth and genuinely moving. The trust of the children and families gained by the production team can be seen in the relaxed nature of the subjects. Access to meetings with local authorities and solicitors added insight to the refugee experience. Personal childhood moments added richness to the reporting. The willingness to engage with teenagers approaching adulthood was welcome in a film dealing with refugee children.”
Refugee Reporting Award Jury
International Journalist of the Year Award
Channel 4 News
Guillermo Galdos is the Latin America Correspondent for Channel 4 News, based in Peru. For 15 years, he has produced documentaries and exclusive news stories from some of the world’s most dangerous places. With a strikingly original and accessible approach, he has covered human rights abuses, the drug trade and immigration, and exposed police corruption and the human trafficking industry. As his vibrant reports reveal, his observational style and unprecedented access create an immersive experience for the viewer, combining unforgettable and revelatory footage with universally compelling storytelling. His work is visually stunning and emotionally engaging, challenging stereotypes by providing viewers with an insight into the lives of his subjects.
“We found Guillermo’s work riveting, visually stunning and emotionally engaging. His topics might have been reported on before, but his approach is strikingly original. Whilst his work is accessible to global audiences, he also sets these individual human stories into a wider social and political context, giving them greater depth and meaning.
In addition, we were impressed with his capacity to adapt his storytelling to the many different formats he uses, and his mastery at the grammar of these forms. His stories and images will remain in our minds for a very long time.”
The International Journalist of the Year Award jury
Based in Syria
In one of the most dangerous journalistic environments on the planet, Radio Fresh has consistently highlighted the plight of the Syrian people – exposing corruption, informing citizens and setting up an early warning system for bombs. Based in Idlib, Syria, a place that has been targeted by Assad’s regime, and is often under siege, Radio Fresh has had a huge impact in pushing back on extremist groups in the area, and is one of the few independent media organisations offering counter-messages of tolerance and human rights. Since 2013, Radio Fresh has provided a vital voice for Syrians who strive for peace and freedom. It has also supplied media training to more than 2,500 young people, creating a new generation of independent journalists in Syria.
“In one of the most dangerous journalistic environments on the planet, Radio Fresh has consistently highlighted the plight of the Syrian people. Radio Fresh has a huge impact in pushing back on extremist groups in the area and is one of the few independent media organisations offering counter-messages of tolerance and human rights. We congratulate Radio Fresh, a media organisation that is hugely deserving of this year’s ‘Special Award’.”
Special Award Jury