Al Jazeera Media Network has won four Webby awards in a contest that is often referred to as the Emmy’s of the online world. The network’s wins emerged from out of more than 13,000 entries from an array of media organisations including the Washington Post, National Geographic, Disney, New York Times, Huffington Post, Vox and many more.
Al Jazeera’s AJ Shorts, Growing up too fast in Afghanistan, picked up a Webby jury win as well as a top prize in the People’s Voice category. The short film tells the heart-rending story of 14 year-old Khudai, whose father was killed by ISIL. Khudai would like to live a normal childhood, but now must face the hard reality of ensuring the survival of his five younger sisters and mother.
“I see other kids with their school bags and pens and wish I went to school too, studied, read and wrote,” Khudai explains in the short film which has been recognised by other awards competitions this year.
Contrast, Al Jazeera’s virtual reality unit, also picked up a win for “Best Series” in the People’s Voice competition for 7 Stories for 7 Years. The Series tracks the aspirations of seven Syrian teens in one of the world’s largest refugee camps, the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.
The AJ+ English online series In Real Life, also scooped up a win in the People’s Voice competition for its 14-minute exposé of pandemic food wastage in the United States.
Carlos van Meek, Director of Digital Innovation and Programming, said he is proud by his team’s performance. He considers winning the awards proof there is room for news and current affairs in the digital space. “These wins show that Al Jazeera Digital is well positioned to continue telling strong stories from places like Afghanistan and Syrian refugee camps in Jordan long after the media spotlight may have faded. Awards like the Webby’s reinforce Al Jazeera’s mission to empower people by sharing their stories with a global audience.
Medals will be conferred during the 23rd Annual Webby gala to be held in New York City on May 13th, an event that is attended by media thought leaders, innovators and celebrities.