Winners 2017

The 2017 One World Media Award winners were announced at a ceremony at BAFTA on Tuesday 6 June. Hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, the Awards celebrated outstanding work from all media platforms and across a wide range of genres.

See the full list of 2017 Awards jurors here. 

Journalist of the Year Award
Feature Documentary Award
New Voice Award
Television Documentary Award
Radio Award
Corruption Reporting Award
Print Award
Digital Media Award
News Award
Refugee Reporting Award
Student Award
Women’s Rights in Africa Award
Popular Features Award
Short Film Award
Special Award

International Journalist of the Year Award

 Selam Gebrekidan 

Reuters

Selam Gebrekidan is an Ethiopia-born Reuters journalist based in New York. Over the past 18 months, she has reported from 10 countries in three continents to uncover how smuggling networks and the so-called Islamic State profited from the global migration crisis. She produced a trilogy of reports documenting the journeys of three groups of migrants from Eritrea.

The first, centred on 16-year-old Girmay Mehari, revealed how smugglers prey on refugees’ relatives worldwide to extract money for journeys that often end in death. The second story uncovered how ISIS, battling for its survival in Libya, is profiting from the migrant flow to Europe by turning women migrants like 24-year old Ruta Fisehaye into sex slaves. The third story took Gebrekidan to Libya, where she documented how a mother and 12-year-old daughter, after escaping captivity as ISIS sex slaves, were imprisoned by local militia on the baseless charge of belonging to the extremist group themselves.

OWM Awards IJOY
Selam Gebrekidan with award presenter John Simpson

“Across three continents and psychological and cultural chasms, Selam Gebrekidan has done a wonderful, empathic series of pieces about migration and its impact on everyone concerned. Ethiopian-born herself, she followed Eritrean migrants on their long journeys through Libya, focusing on the smugglers, the families trying to help across long distances, the dangers of the journey, both from Islamic State and militant groups. A remarkable accomplishment, aided by a sophisticated multimedia presentation, including helpful charts and graphics.”

International Journalist of the Year Award Jury

Feature Documentary Award

 Ambulance

JABFilm

Director. Mohamed Jabaly
Producer: John Arvid Berger
Editor: Nanna Frank Møller

Ambulance is a first-person account of the last war in Gaza in July 2014. The story is told by Mohamed Jabaly, a young man from Gaza City who joins an ambulance crew as war approaches. The war is documented through Mohamed’s eyes as he films and directs his experiences.

Ambulance paints an intimate and personal account of the Gaza Massacre during the holy time of Ramadan. The compelling narrative follows his struggles to cope with broken bodies, terrified families, and the constant risk of sudden death. In response to the dark chaos of war, Mohamed learns to rely on his captain and crewmates, who in turn support Mohamed to make a film that expresses both the trauma and hope of the too-often invisible citizens of Gaza. The film explores Mohamed’s struggle to find his place in a country under siege, as well as what it is like to grow up under constant threat.

Mohamed Jabaly, with award presenter Liz Mermin

“This immersive film brings you into the terrifying heart of the conflict in Gaza in an intimate and powerful way, even with moments of humour. Much of the power comes from the director’s personal engagement in the action: he and the camera are merged, taking the story beyond citizen journalism or news reportage and into a more intimate space that offers a visceral sense of how a community survives a war. At a time when we’re flooded with horrific images of conflict, there is something about the sparse narration and simplicity of the filmmaking that creates a sense of immediacy and empathy that make this film stand out. A very impressive first feature.”

Feature Documentary Award Jury

New Voice Award

 May Jeong

Freelance

May Jeong is an award-winning writer based in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her work has been published in the New York Times Magazine, The Intercept and Harper’s, amongst others. Her investigative reporting on the cost of the war in Afghanistan for the Financial Times won her the 2014 Society of Business Editors and Writers’ Award. She is a two-time Pulitzer Centre on Crisis Reporting grantee, and currently a Logan Nonfiction fellow at the Carey Institute for Global Good.

Jeong’s recent stories – ‘The Smugglers’ and ‘Afghans, the Refugees’ Refugees’ – have grown out of a larger body of work examining the so-called European refugee crisis from the perspective of Afghanistan. ‘Death from the Sky’ is a months-long investigation into the US airstrike on the MSF hospital in Kunduz in October 2016, and ‘The Patient War’ poses the question: how does the war end in Afghanistan? Much of her work to date has been an attempt to address this question. Jeong finds the best available answer to be that it is far from over; civil war in Afghanistan will continue long after all foreigners leave.

Frederick Paxton collecting May Jeong's New Voice Award, with presenter Ade Adepitan

“May Jeong’s entries were outstanding, showing a comprehensive command of journalism which brought together tenacious investigative skills, an understanding of complex and contentious issues, and lucid storytelling at an extraordinary level of detail. Her determination to uncover the truth, such as in the case of the Kunduz hospital bombing, under arduous and dangerous circumstances, was truly impressive. We were unanimous in deciding that May Jeong was the winner.”

New Voice Award Jury

Digital Media Award

 Islamic State’s Most Wanted

BBC World Service & BBC News Online

Producer/Reporter: Chloe Hadjimatheou
Arabic Producer: Faisal Irshaid
Exec Producer: Richard Knight

In this revealing three-part online documentary series, reporter Chloe Hadjimatheou tells the astonishing story of a group of young men from Raqqa in Syria, who chose to resist the so-called Islamic State through an online propaganda campaign called ‘Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently’. Occupied since 2014, ISIS made the city of Raqqa their caliphate capital.

The report details how these young men and extraordinary activists have risked everything to oppose ISIS; several have been killed, or have had family members murdered. ISIS has put a bounty on the resistance leaders’ heads, forcing them to go into hiding. But the group continues its work, despite the real and immediate threat to their lives and the lives of their loved ones. Hadjimatheou meets the group’s founders, who are now organising undercover activists in Raqqa from the relative safety of other countries. The series, commissioned by the Digital Storytelling Fund, had a big impact with audiences and combines on-screen interviews with the group’s founders, video footage and animation.

Chloe Hadjimatheou & Richard Knight, with award presenter Benedicte Audet

“The judges were unanimously impressed by the remarkable story of a group of young men from Raqqa, in Syria, who became Islamic State’s Most Wanted when they chose to resist the takeover of their city through an online campaign called “Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently”. Told through on-screen interviews with the group’s founders, video footage and animation, the report stands out for its relevance and narrative impact, and for providing a revelatory new angle, from inside events, on an already well-reported subject. The technical resourcefulness the group showed in getting their story out of Raqqa, as so-called Islamic State shut down the city’s internet connection, highlights the power of mobile journalism as a low-cost, agile format.”

Digital Media Award Jury

News Award

 Barrel Bomb Baby

ITN for Channel 4 News

Journalist: Waad al-Kateab
Producers: Teresa Smith & Federico Escher
Presenter: Matt Frei

Channel 4 News aired this miraculous story of a baby boy born after his mother was caught up in a barrel bomb attack in Syria. As the child hovers between life and death this 6-minute film captures the pain and ultimately, despite the mother’s desperate struggle for life, the sheer joy of the baby’s survival.

The remarkable footage was filmed by a young Syrian woman, Waad al-Kateab, during the siege of Aleppo. Al-Kateab taught herself to use a camera at the beginning of the Syrian uprising and has been documenting the terrible suffering of civilians in Aleppo under siege ever since. She was 25 years old and a young mother herself. It’s a powerful and emotional report and has become Channel 4 News’ most watched piece – currently at 70 million views. Her short films from Aleppo have in total been viewed over 400 million times – and have provided some of the most memorable images of the Syrian war.

Nevine Mabro for Channel 4 News

“The winning submission, shot by Channel 4’s brave and talented camerawoman Waad al-Kateab, delivered a moving and extraordinary humanitarian News item.  Investing in local developing world talent to deliver exceptional news footage has paid rich dividends.  It reflects the collaborative ethos that these One World Media Awards has always sought to foster.  Channel 4 News clearly worked hard to bring together a range of talents to elevate the craft and narrative of the piece which delivered a memorable and moving News item.  The non-linear double narrative was beautifully interwoven with Matt Frei’s exceptional script.  Demonstrating that broadcast newsrooms must rely on teamwork to deliver more than the sum of the parts for exceptional News coverage.  Witnessing the birth of a baby in the turmoil and tragedy that has been Aleppo merely heightened the rawness of war and death, but reminded the audience that life must persist for those who don’t succumb to the bombs and bullets.  A local camera operator who was clearly trusted by hospital staff was able to gather images that told the story of life and death in Aleppo like few other pieces.  Seeing a baby born in the midst of a bombing incident has to be one of the most incredible bits of footage from the human catastrophe that is Aleppo.  The reach of the piece on social media, reported at 66 million views, after the initial broadcast reflects the power of the images and the narrative to convey a deeper understanding of this human catastrophe.  A huge impact for an individual item of news which the judges felt just gave it the edge over other exceptional entries.”

News Award Jury

Television Documentary Award

Director: James Bluemel
Exec Producer: Will Anderson
Editor: Simon Sykes

In 2015, more than a million migrants and refugees smuggled themselves into Europe. KEO Films challenged themselves to tell their stories, while representing the scale of what has become the biggest migration of people since World War Two. This series begins as thousands of refugees from Syria arrive at the Turkish port of Izmir, and follows dozens of refugees as they make the perilous journey onwards to their final destinations.

Filmed over 10 months, the programme documents the journey of, among others, refugees using dinghies to cross from Turkey to Greece; travelling in the back of lorries entering the Eurotunnel and on trucks driven by smugglers across the Sahara. The film uses footage that the refugees shot themselves, on cameraphones provided by KEO Films, and provides a deeply personal account of the journey that thousands continue to undertake to reach Europe.

Jack McInnes, Alex Hudson & Jonathan Shaw (KEO Films), with award presenter Jonathan Charles

“The winner was a brave and committed commission. Migration, one of the biggest issues of our time is a well-covered topic, but the treatment of these individual stories really cut through and we too felt the experience of their journeys. It was both intimate and epic. The production was not fussy, and felt raw. There were some memorable moments which were moving and life-affirming.”

Television Documentary Award Jury

Print Award

 Murder in Burundi

Jessica Hatcher-Moore for The Guardian

In September 2014, men with machetes assassinated three elderly Italian nuns at their convent in Bujumbura. The triple murder, which for many marked the beginning of Burundi’s ongoing political crisis, incensed Burundians, who suspected the state of orchestrating the crime. In the following months, the population united – Tutsis and Hutus – behind their journalists and civil rights defenders in a way the country had never seen before.

Despite a long civil war and two genocides, there has been no truth and reconciliation process in Burundi. International bodies attempting to monitor abuses are stonewalled by the government, while independent media and civil society are in exile. Human rights activists and journalists have risked their lives to investigate state crimes hoping that their evidence would one day be used in court. Reporter Jessica Hatcher-Moore follows the work of one human rights defender who set out to solve the nuns’ murder and was confronted by a near-fatal collision course with Burundi’s most powerful general.

Jessica Hatcher-Moore, with award presenter Ramita Navai

“A gripping read, and at its heart, brave and great journalism.”

Print Award Jury

Women’s Rights in Africa Award

 AWA: Zimbabwe’s Rap Queen

Max Thurlow for VICE

Director/Camera: Max Thurlow
Producers: Ruth Daniel, Alex Hoffman, Roberta McCaughan, Becca Wren

AWA: Zimbabwe’s Rap Queen is a story of the optimism and determination of one woman, and her struggle to fight prejudice in the male dominated music industry and make a career as a hip hop star. Taking her name from her own maxim, African Women Arise, AWA has struggled against sexual blackmail and domestic violence – issues she brings to her music. The film captures her infectious optimism and charisma in her pursuit of musical success. Documenting AWA as she prepares to perform at Shoko, Zimbabwe’s largest hip-hop festival in the capital Harare, the film reveals intimate glimpses of her life and identity as an artist and rapper.

The film was supported by In Place of War – a charity that supports artistic, creative and cultural organisations in places of conflict across the globe, and allowed filmmaker Max Thurlow exclusive access as they set up the first ever music festival in AWA’s hometown.

Max Thurlow & Alex Hoffman, with award presenter Tazeen Ahmad

“We loved seeing coverage of Zimbabwe that showed a young women who was literate, modern, powerful – the producers found an amazing central character who was very talented and inspirational for girls around the world. Her culture, upbringing and roots were very positive. She was a strong presence on stage and also just an ordinary girl. Really impressive piece of journalism.”

Women’s Rights in Africa Award Jury

Popular Features Award

Writer: Rachel Cooke
Editor: Ursula Kenny

In this interview, writer Rachel Cooke talks to architect Marwa al-Sabouni about her new book, The Battle for Home, and her decision to remain in her home city of Homs with her husband and children throughout the Syrian war. The book is part memoir and part architectural essay and focuses on the rebuilding of Syria, and the ways in which its architecture has contributed to sectarian issues in the country. The piece examines the effects of the war on her neighbours and the city of Homs as a whole.

Balancing a human view with a professional one, al-Sabouni persists in thinking like an architect, even as her city lies in ruins around her. After the publication of this interview, The Battle for Home was hugely in demand: BBC World Service, Wall Street Journal, and Financial Times critics reviewed the book, and al-Sabouni was subsequently invited to speak at a conference at the Barbican, organised by the Architecture Foundation, which focused on the art and architecture behind the refugee crisis.

Rachel Cooke, with award presenter Rick Edwards

“A beautifully written interview that tells the story of Marwa al-Sabouni, a remarkable young architect from the Syrian town of Homs.  Marwa has remained there with her husband and children throughout the war and her personal story is told with great humanity. But it is brilliantly interweaved with her professional story and her views about how architecture has caused much of Syria’s problems in the past and is now fundamental to its future. The result is a moving and intelligent piece of writing.”

Popular Features Award Jury

Corruption Reporting Award

Reporter: Will Jordan
Producer: Will Thorne
Camera: Christofilos Olivotos

Stealing Paradise is an unprecedented investigation into how international corruption is carried out at governmental level, focusing on the popular tourist islands of the Maldives. It exposed massive corruption at the very top of government, including theft, bribery and money laundering. President Abdulla Yameen was accused of receiving cash in bags filled with up to $1 million, so much that it was “difficult to carry,” according to one of the men who delivered it.

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit obtained an electronic cache of confidential texts, emails and documents that included evidence that ties the president of the Maldives to the largest corruption scandal in its history, in which nearly $80 million of money raised from luxury resort leases was stolen. The documentary also features secretly recorded confessions of three men who helped to embezzle millions and delivered the stolen cash on the orders of the president and his deputy.

Will Jordan, Will Thorne & Christofilos Olivotos, with award presenter Robert Barrington

“A great journalism scoop, brilliantly told, about corruption at the very highest levels of politics, as well as shining a light on international financial networks. Credit also to the bravery of some of the interviewees.”

Corruption Reporting Award Jury

Student Award

 Waste

Minmin Wu | Open City Docs School, UCL

Yanin Ma is an 11-year-old girl living with leukaemia. Her hometown in Shantou has become one of the most heavily polluted cities in the world and is now infamous for its electronic waste recycling industry. The family-run workshops that cover the city burn electronics sourced from all over the world in order to extract the rare metals they contain, a process that fills the atmosphere with dangerous toxins.

The film documents Yanin’s recovery having spent the last month undergoing chemotherapy in Guangzhou City. Yanin wants only to go home for the annual Children’s Day celebration, but some believe the pollution in her hometown could be the very cause of her illness. In Waste, student and filmmaker Minmin Wu follows Yanin and her family through her gruelling treatment and provides insight into the human cost of urban pollution.

Minmin Wu, with award presenter Benjamin Zand

“The judges fell in love with the main character, Yanxin, a young girl undergoing treatment for leukaemia. It was a beautifully observed film that stayed with them long after watching.  The filmmaker showed a real ability to make a connection with the characters and in structuring a film that is important and inspiring.”

Student Award Jury

Refugee Reporting Award

 Exodus: Our Journey to Europe

KEO Films for BBC Two

Series Director: James Bluemel
Executive Producer: Will Anderson
Series Editor: Simon Sykes

In 2015, more than a million migrants and refugees smuggled themselves into Europe. KEO Films challenged themselves to tell their stories, while representing the scale of what has become the biggest migration of people since World War Two. This series begins as thousands of refugees from Syria arrive at the Turkish port of Izmir, and follows dozens of refugees as they make their perilous journey onwards to their final destinations.

Filmed over 10 months, the programme documents the journey of, among others, refugees using dinghies to cross from Turkey to Greece; travelling in the back of lorries entering the Eurotunnel and on trucks driven by smugglers across the Sahara. The film uses footage that the refugees shot themselves, on cameraphones provided by KEO Films, and provides a deeply personal account of the journey that thousands continue to undertake to reach Europe.

Jack McInnes, Alex Hudson & Jonathan Shaw (KEO Films), with award presenter Mike Adamson

“Exodus: Our Journey to Europe is an outstanding and immensely powerful series which gives rightful centre-stage to the voices of refugees and migrants themselves – in Episode 3, to Alaigie, Hassan, and Ahmad. With the clever – and seamless – use of smartphone cameras by the stars of the film, and high quality professional filming by the production team, Exodus portrays the human stories behind the headlines of migration to Europe. Through the eyes and words of Hassan, Ahmad and Alaigie, the viewer is taken on journeys they would not normally see, experiencing despair, fear, tears, anger but also joy and laughter with the three young men along the way. The remarkable human capacity for resilience and the desire for a better world reverberates throughout; quite simply, this film can change hearts and minds.”

Refugee Reporting Award Jury

Radio Award

 Syria’s Secret Library

BBC Radio 4

Reporter: Mike Thomson
Producer: M. Gallagher | Editor: B. Harney
Research & Translation: Mariam el Khalaf

This programme tells the story of the people of the besieged town of Darayya in Syria and their extraordinary hidden library. Deep beneath the shattered, barrel-bombed streets is a basement room filled with thousands of books rescued from collapsed buildings under constant shelling and sniper fire. Reporter Mike Thompson reveals the story of Syria’s secret library through a period of more than six months of tenuous Skype calls, emails and social media messages with the people who built it, including Free Syrian Army fighter, Omar Abu-Anas. These people, who are still fighting to defend their hometown, risked their lives to read. Sadly, Omar was killed the day after the programme was broadcast. Rebel-held Darayya finally surrendered to Syrian government forces near the end of August and the town was evacuated. Yet their story of hope has inspired listeners across the world.

Bridget Harney & Mike Thomson, with award presenter Laura Parfitt

“An extraordinary documentary. A raw, beautiful piece combining pure journalism, authenticity and humanity. The judges were impressed by the creative and tenacious collection of material, and also by the intimacy of the relationships build via unreliable skype and social media links. The richness of material and stories kept coming throughout, leaving a lasting and powerful impact on the listener. Radio perfection.”

Radio Award Jury

Short Film Award

 The Battle for Mosul

ITN for Channel 4 News

Reporter: Olivier Sarbil
Producer: Teresa Smith
Editor: Agnieszka Liggett

When the city of Mosul in Iraq was captured by ISIS two and a half years ago, 1st Battalion, a special unit of Iraq’s Golden Division, spearheaded a mission to reclaim the city. Embedded with the special forces soldiers from the 1st Battalion, French cameraman Olivier Sarbil spent six weeks filming on the front line.

The Battle for Mosul follows the dramatic journey of the soldiers in Sarbil’s unit as they push deeper and deeper into the war-torn city. They face terrifying and fierce resistance on a daily basis from suicide bombers and snipers that surround the city. The film shows the challenges the soldiers face as they hunt for the ISIS fighters who are hiding among the local population, and provides an intimate view of the brutal battle through the eyes of the men who are fighting to free Iraq.

Rob Hodge on behalf of Channel 4 News, with award presenter Jenny Horwell

“In a strong field of timely and important films, The Battle For Mosul stood out for being powerful and nuanced, deftly marrying the worlds of cinematic filmmaking and journalistic reporting to potent effect.The extraordinary cinematography drew out very human moments, rendering an almost unimaginable situation immediate and moving.”

Short Film Award Jury

Special Award

 Radio Erena

Eritrea

For the past 26 years, Eritrea has been a dictatorship and the government has enforced strict censorship of the media. Despite this, exiled Eritrean journalist Binjam Simon has been successful in launching an independent Eritrean radio station. Radio Erena – which means ‘Our Eritrea’ – was founded in Paris in June 2009 with the help of Reporters Without Borders. It has grown into an international, independent radio service working with 15 journalists from across the globe. Radio Erena broadcasts in Tigrinya and Arabic to Eritrea and provides cultural, social, political and entertainment programmes that enable Eritreans living under the dictatorship to hear a different story to the one forcibly imposed by the regime.

Fathi Osman of Radio Erena

“According to the World Press Freedom Index Eritrea is at the very bottom -180th out of 180 countries. It also has 15 journalists currently in prison.
Against that background the achievement of the exiles running Radio Erena is immense, creating fresh programmes everyday and managing to evade the many barriers to independent information by broadcasting their reports back into Eritrea aswell as for Eritreans in exile.The Jury was impressed with the highly innovative use of mobile telephone technology to reach their audience and the way in which, in a highly politicised nation, they had sustained a reputation for independent and balanced journalism over eight years.”

The Jury