News & Politics
The Al Jazeera Investigative Unit's 2021 documentary of state corruption, favouritism and human rights abuses in Bangladesh, "All the Prime Minister's Men", has won the award for Best Investigation at the prestigious Amnesty International UK Media Awards 2022.
The documentary caused a sensation in Bangladesh when it aired in February 2021. It was widely viewed, and although the press skirted around it at first, by the end of the year the documentary's influence proved telling. The government's clumsy response also brought the UN into it.
Authorities labeled the investigation regarding various forms of corruption at the heart of the Bangladesh state as 'false, defamatory and politically motivated'.
But the provocatively titled documentary won out against stiff competition from two BBC investigations (Three Killings in Kampala and Haftar's Russian Mercenaries - Inside the Wagner Group) and one from Tortoise Media (Hidden Homicides) in its category.
The Amnesty International Media awards celebrate the best of human rights journalism across 12 categories, including investigations, broadcast news, documentaries, photojournalism, student media, radio and podcasts, as well as best use of digital media.
Zulkarnain Saer 'Sami', a Bangladeshi ex-entrepreneur based in Hungary who was also the star witness and source for the investigation, and Will Throne received the accolade on behalf of the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit.
Sami has since joined the AJIU and relocated to an undisclosed location.
"I used to be a restaurant owner in Budapest, serving the best butter chicken. Today I am here as an investigative journalist who has left a glittering life behind to protect democracy, press freedom and civil rights for my home country Bangladesh," Sami said upon receiving the award.
Later on Facebook he dedicated the award "to all the journalists back in Bangladesh who despite being muzzled by the draconian DSA (the Digital Security Act) are striving to hold the powerful accountable."
All the Prime Minister's Men, which made use of documentary evidence as well as secret recordings of those close to power in Bangladesh and followed ex-army chief General (retd) Aziz Ahmed without his knowledge on a trip to Malaysia, also won the DIG Award for best investigative long film in October last year.
The government and its backers doubled down against those involved with the report as a sedition case was filed against four people, including Swedish-Bangladeshi journalist and Netra News Editor-in-Chief Tasneem Khalil and Zulkarnain Saer Khan alias Sami, for their role in the Al Jazeera report.
The two other accused are: British journalist David Bergman and Mostefa Souag, acting director general of Al Jazeera Media Network.
Al Jazeera Media Network, Al Jazeera Investigations: All the Prime Minister's Men
Judges: Seyi Rhodes (Channel 4), Rachel Jupp (BBC), George Arbuthnott (Sunday Times), Barney Calman (Mail on Sunday), Kai Akram (Amnesty International UK).
The i newspaper and inews.co.uk, The Plight of LGBT people in Afghanistan, by Patrick Strudwick
Judges: Annie Kelly (Guardian), Joe Wallen (Telegraph), Matt Vella (FT Weekend Magazine), Matt Chapman (Bureau of Investigative Journalism), Moya Lothian-McLean (Novara Media), Ella Berny (Amnesty International UK).
The Gaby Rado Award for New Journalist
Rosa Furneaux, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism
Judges: Sophia Yan (The Telegraph), Sahar Zand (freelance), Lindsay Taylor (friend of Gaby Rado and former Channel 4 News correspondent), Samantha Poling (BBC Worldwide), Rachel Reilly (Amnesty International UK).
Kimi Chaddah, Durham University
Judges: Nimra Shahid (Global Witness), Eamonn Matthews (Quicksilver Media), Simi Jolaoso (BBC), Matt Chorley (Times Radio), Jason Bennetto (City University of London), Kai Akram (Amnesty International UK).
Radio and Podcasts
Whistledown Productions for Audible UK, The Bias Diagnosis - Episode 3: Thought
Judges: Nihal Arthanayake (BBC 5 Live), Owenna Griffiths (BBC Radio 4 Today), Basma Khalifa (Unpretty Podcast), Tom Cheal (LBC), Harriet Garland (Amnesty International UK).
BBC News, Afghan Women
Judges: Laura Kuenssberg (BBC News), Carly Bishop (ITV News), Deborah Haynes (Sky News), Cait FitzSimons (5 News), Neil Durkin (Amnesty International UK).
Best Use of Digital Media
The Guardian, Countdown to the airstrike: the moment Israeli forces hit al-Jalaa tower, Gaza
Judges: May Abdalla (ANAGRAM), Lydia McMullan (The Guardian), Matt Risley (Channel 4), Richard Moynihan (BBC), Joe Pickover (PA Media), Kai Akram (Amnesty International UK).
Al Jazeera English Online, "A Tigrayan womb should never give birth": Rape in Tigray
Judges: Josie Ensor (The Telegraph), Michael Safi (The Guardian), Joel Taylor (Metro), Manveen Rana (Times and Sunday Times), Rachel Reilly (Amnesty International UK).
Harsha Vadlamani, See how rural India has been overrun by the pandemic's second wave
Judges: Mark Sealy (Autograph ABP/ University of the Arts London), Philip Coburn (Daily Mirror), Paul Conroy (Freelance), Sara Rumens (The Times), Smita Sharma (Freelance), Richard Burton (Amnesty International).
Nations and Regions
BBC Scotland, Mapping the impact of Covid on Scotland's care homes
Judges: Jennifer McKiernan (BBC London), Toby Granville (Newsquest), Eve Livingston (Freelance), Ellie Cullen (Press Association), Patrick Corrigan (Amnesty International UK).
BBC Storyville, Collective: Unravelling a Scandal
Judges: Tom Giles (ITV), Sarah Waldron (BBC), Daniel Louw (Channel 5), Nevine Mabro (Channel 4), Ella Berny (Amnesty International UK).
BBC News Arabic, BBC News Russia and BBC Digital News, Inside the Wagner Group
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