'Swap reality TV for real lives' - Samura



The winner of the One World documentary award, Sorious Samura, called for more programmes that show real people’s lives, rather than "reality television" such as Big Brother, when he collected the top television prize for the second year running.

Samura, whose film about African migration, Exodus, repeated the success last year of Cry Freetown by winning the television documentary award, called on TV executives to help "make the important interesting".

"We are up against shows like Big Brother and Survivor, but this programme is indeed about the real survivors," said Samura, adding: "We can’t afford to turn our backs on these kind of realities." "News and current affairs is dying because people in the media are obsessed with ratings and the focus is more and more on gameshows and so-called reality TV," he said. "But this film was incredibly important to me because it showed real survivors who have never been given the oppor-

tunity to tell their story before, and they are stories the West can’t afford to ignore. It can’t be just about ratings going up."

Samura, who is planning to return to Africa to make a new film for Insight Television News, which will be shown on CNN, was among nine journalists who picked up awards at the ceremony in London last week for work highlighting international issues .

The television documentary prize for Exodus, which was broadcast on Channel 4 last year, and last month on CNN, and the lifestyle award which went to Channel 4’s Bloody Foreigners by Omid Djalili, were the only awards to escape the BBC, which picked up five awards in six categories.

The radio documentary award went to BBC Radio 4’s Emily Buchanan for Seeds of Hate, a film that examined the experiences of women who had been raped during the conflicts in Central Europe.

Sue Lloyd-Roberts picked up a television news award for BBC2’s Newsnight on Tanzania, which she filmed with the help of her son, George, during his gap year.

The radio news award went to Teresa Guerreiro for the BBC World Service programme on Mozambique, After the Floods. Dominic Arkwright’s Radio 4 programme, Sudan, was given a special commendation.

The children’s rights award went to Olenka Frankiel for her programme on child soldiers, Uganda, for BBC Radio 4’s Crossing Continents strand.

The next generation award went to Steve Barnett for the BBC World Service youth magazine programme, The Edge, which focused on children living in Sierra Leone.

The national press award went to The Guardian’s Sarah Moseley and team for their "Dying for Drugs" campaign, which looked at the role of the multi-national pharmaceutical companies on world health.

A special judges prize was given to the deputy editor of the Eastern Daily Press, James Ruddy, in recognition of his work for orphaned children from Sierra Leone.

The magazines, journals and periodicals award went to Fiona Holland, editor of the VSO magazine, Orbit.

By Julie Tomlin

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