Here are five award winning programmes from the soon to be defunct Al Jazeera America
At a general meeting on Wednesday, cable news channel, Al Jazeera America (AJAM), announced that it will shut down operations by the end of April, 2016. A decision driven by the fact that the organization’s business model is not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace, as stated by AJAM’s CEO, Al Anstey, in a memo.
AJAM went on air in August, 2013 after it purchased former vice president, Al Gore’s failing cable network, Current TV, for $500 million, grossing $70 million. But so far, the Qatar-based network has not recorded meaningful viewership, at least not half as much as they do back home or as they had expected.
According to reports, the failure of the AJAM project had been foreseen and even predicted. From disgruntled employees who complained bitterly of the culture of fear that paralyzed network executives and former employees who alleged sexism and anti-Semitism, to protracted lawsuits between Al Jazeera and Al Gore, the network was doomed from the start. Not to mention the fact that it has been losing huge sums of money from the onset, all of which toppled with the fall in oil price making funding increasingly untenable as the network’s owner, the Qatar government, now battles with economic struggles.
But despite these issues, AJAM recorded a number of achievements, winning multiple awards for some of the best programmes that aired on prime time cable TV. Here are some of the award-winning programmes that the soon to be defunct Al Jazeera America produced in a little over two years.
Fists of Fury
The programme first aired on the 25th of “Fists of Fury” (FOF) aired on November 2013 and chronicled the story of a teenage girl’s journey from the slums of Calcutta to a competitive boxing ring. A young woman who defied the stereotype that Indian women are powerless victims in a chauvinistic society. FOF won the Gracie Award in February 2014, six months after the network’s debut. It marked AJAM’s first award in a line of many others to come.
Fault Lines: Haiti in a Time of Cholera
“Haiti in a Time of Cholera” examined the epidemic that led to the death of over 8,000 people and infected more than 600,000 others in Haiti after its major earthquake in 2010. The programme took the audience on a journey from Haiti to the United Nations headquarters in New York City to ask who should be held accountable for the cholera epidemic since epidemiologists identified the Haitian strain of the illness as one that originated in Nepal, where a group of U.N. peacekeepers came from.
Fault Lines: Made in Bangladesh
This programme examined the story behind a factory fire that killed more than a hundred people in Bangladesh, while uncovering the corporate misbehaviour of American retail giants like Wal-Mart and GAP. It revealed dangerous production practices like how these big retailers aid and abet human rights violations by turning a blind eye to subcontractors who use children for cheap labour.
The programme won a 2013 Peabody Award for presenting a holistic picture of exploitation and the lack of accountability by corporations, contractors and consumers alike.
Miners Shot Down
“Miners Shot Down” won Best Documentary at the International Emmy Awards 2015. It is a documentary that explores the Marikana massacre of 2012 in South Africa which left 34 miners dead and more than 100 injured. It highlights the courageous fight put up by miners in the country’s first post-apartheid massacre.
“Hard Earned” is a six-part documentary series that explores the day-to-day life of five families around the United States to find out what it takes for them to survive, living on just a few dollars an hour. “The documentary series was recognized for its gritty approach and character driven storytelling.”
The post Here are five award winning programmes from the soon to be defunct Al Jazeera America appeared first on Ventures Africa.