DIG Awards 2021

Finalists: Investigative Long

For video investigations, both released and unreleased, of a minimum duration of 30 minutes. Filmmakers must use original sources and investigative techniques to bring out elements of novelty in relation to the subject matter.

All the Prime Minister’s Men

Al Jazeera Investigations Unit | Qatar/Uk 2021 | 60′

The documentary provides a gripping account of how a criminal family linked to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is colluding with Bangladesh’s security forces to capture a state. The two–year investigation produced a compelling documentary that provides viewers a front row seat on real-time corruption. Undercover reporters expose how a member of a former street mafia has become chief of the Bangladesh army. He helped his siblings, who are convicted killers, evade justice. The brothers boast that they run paramilitary units to abduct rivals and earn millions in bribes. The investigation caused a firestorm in Bangladesh. The Dhaka media described it as “explosive” and “viral on social media”. The government run media rejected attempts “to debase a professionally highly skilled Chief of Army Staff without any valid evidence””. The New Age, wrote in an editorial; “To the extent that it was a bombshell, ‘All the Prime Minister’s Men’ was a real stink bomb.”

The Baby Stealers

BBC Africa Eye | Kenya/UK 2020 | 51′

For the first time, this BBC investigation uncovered damning evidence of a thriving underground trade for stolen children in Kenya. Over the course of a year, and at great personal risk, a team of undercover investigators infiltrated a series of child trafficking rings, capturing evidence of new born babies being sold in illegal clinics, children being stolen from homeless mothers and sold for as little as $450, and even babies being stolen and sold by corrupt health workers at one of Nairobi’s biggest hospitals. The investigation followed the trafficker’s trail from the slums of Nairobi to the maternity ward of a major government hospital, showing how easily children can be bought on Kenya’s black market. The release of this film led to the immediate arrest of the traffickers exposed and the establishing of a government task force dedicated to ending child trafficking.

Dirty Clothes

Mission Investigate SVT | Sweden/Lithuania 2021 | 58′

This extraordinary documentary was one of the highest rated television programs during 2021 in Sweden and a big success in Lithuania. The Mission Investigate team from SVT – together with international colleagues – reveals how organized crime systematically and on a large scale steals clothes from the charities’ collection boxes and makes millions of euros in the process. By using GPS trackers, hidden cameras, drones and classic surveillance the reporters – in a breathtaking hour of TV – was able to catch an international gang of thieves using sophisticated methods and operating in several countries. The vintage clothing trade is extensive and international. The majority of the clothes that Swedes put in the collection boxes are resold in Europe. It is an entire industry, and the money generated is an important source of income for aid organizations. But the story of SVT exposed how clothes worth millions of Euros ended up in the hands of eastern European organized crime.

Giulio Regeni: Buried Facts

Alaraby Television Network | Italy/Egypt/Uk 2021 | 58′

Alaraby TV broadcasted an investigative report titled “Buried Truth” that discussed the updates of the 2016 murder case of the Italian Researcher Giulio Regeni in Cairo. AlAraby’s investigation team received 2 exclusive testimonies stating that Regeni was under detention, torture, and interrogation in the headquarters of the Egyptian Military Intelligence on the 28th & 29th of January, 2016. In cooperation with the Lawyer of Regeni’s family, Alessandra Ballerini, and Rome’s Deputy Chief Prosecutor, Sergio Colaiocco, AlAraby’s investigation team documented and verified both testimonies and was able to draw a facial composite of the accused torturers. The Italian General Prosecution Office demanded Alaraby TV to officially submit these testimonies. After doing so, he introduced 3 new witnesses in this case, 2 of whom were presented by AlAraby TV. Regeni’s parents and lawyer said that that their hope was renewed after the new testimonies revealed by AlAraby TV.

Three Days that Stopped the World

Al Jazeera Investigative Unit | Qatar/China 2021 | 48′

While COVID-19 is still a mystery, two Chinese journalists from state media are sent to Wuhan to investigate the outbreak. This is the story of the three days that would change the world forever. All around them was a mixture of confusion, fear and festivity due to lack of information and the imminent Chinese New Year. Then came a pivotal announcement: human-to-human transmission was confirmed. The journalists witnessed a city of 11 million transform overnight. After three days, Wuhan was placed under lockdown. The world would soon be stopped in its tracks. The journalists’ reporting was censored by the Chinese government and has never been seen before. Their interviews and diaries were smuggled from China and obtained by Al Jazeera’s I-Unit. The documentary is a unique insight from within China. It’s not a foreigner’s account but a granular chronicle of events that reveals the country’s control mechanisms and also the dissent of its citizens, including those working for state media.