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Programmes on social justice dominate Sandford St Martin Trust Awards

12 June 2020

Channel 4

Waad al-Kateab and her daughter, Sama, in the Channel 4 feature documentary For Sama

Waad al-Kateab and her daughter, Sama, in the Channel 4 feature documentary For Sama

PROGRAMMES highlighting the power of social justice and resilience were recognised at the Sandford St Martin Trust Awards yesterday.

The annual prize-giving recognises outstanding contributions to religious broadcasting in the UK. This year, for the first time, the presentation took place online, owing to the lockdown (News,17 April).

The Channel 4 feature documentary For Sama, about the 26-year-old filmmaker Waad al-Kateab and her daughter, Sama, during the five-year uprising in Aleppo, Syria, won the Television and Video Award. It was created by Channel 4 News and ITN Productions for Channel 4 and Frontline PBS.

The Radio/Audio Award was presented to The Wind Phone, a half-hour programme by Falling Tree Productions for Heart and Soul, BBC World Service, about a disconnected rotary phone in an old booth. Itaru Sasaki put it at the bottom of his garden to talk to his deceased cousin after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan in 2011. It became a pilgrimage site for those who had lost loved ones.

In The Feeling of Being Watched, the filmmaker Assia Boundaoui investigates a Muslim community outside Chicago which, she suspects, has been under FBI surveillance since the 1990s. Produced for Al Jazeera English for Witness, this won the Journalism Award.

The Children’s Award went to the documentary Now I Can Breathe, by CTVC Ltd for TrueTube.co.uk. In it, Amina tells the story of being sexually harassed over several years by other pupils, and describes the work that she does now to help teachers put a stop to sexual harassment in their schools.

A TV adaptation of the fantasy novel Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and the late Terry Pratchett won the Radio Times Readers’ Award. The six-part series about the dilemmas of a fussy angel (Michael Sheen) and a carefree devil (David Tennant) on earth was created by BBC Studios, Blank Corporation, Narrativia, and Amazon Studios for Amazon.

The rap artist Stormzy won the Sandford St Martin Trustees’ Award (News, 21 May).

The Bishop of Ripon, Dr Helen-Ann Hartley, who chairs the Sandford St Martin Trust, said: “When it comes to educating the public and building community, there is nothing to compare with broadcasting and journalism.

“It’s been heartening and feels timely that, even as we are striving to understand the reach and repercussions of the current pandemic, our broadcasters are grappling with the big questions, and how they and we can contribute in a meaningful way to building a better world.

“I’m very proud that this year’s winners and runners-up epitomise the best of both broadcasting but also broadcasting with meaning.”

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