Somali reporter Jamal Osman is named journalist of the year at the One World media awards for a collection of his films for Channel 4 News.
The awards, presented by Channel 4 News Presenter Jon Snow on Tuesday night, recognise outstanding journalism on the developing world. Jamal beat fellow nominees Sue Lloyd Roberts (Newsnight) and Felicity Lawrence (The Guardian) to take home the prize for a portfolio of work on Somalia.
In the first piece in his entry, Jamal travelled to Mogadishu to meet a team of athletes training for the Olympics. Their training ground is the “road of death”, the dividing line between government forces and al-Shabaab militia. But the athletes have few options since Mogadishu’s national sports stadium is now destroyed after al-Shabaab fighters used it as a military base.
A rare story of inspiration, the film captures the grand ambitions of the team – not just to succeed in their sport – but also to use that victory to reunite their country.
Jamal returned to see the extent of the drought in Somalia, showing the mental effects for those whose lives have been upturned – alongside the physical effects of malnutrition. And as the UN confirmed that famine was spreading rapidly across the country, he was the first to enter al-Shabaab territory and speak to the Islamist group.
And amid discussions between the UK and the US governments about the legitimacy of al-Shabaab, Jamal met the refugees caught in the middle. He heard tales of appalling abuse and tells viewers of the anger at the failure of the western-backed government to protect them from rape.
Ben de Pear, head of foreign news at Channel 4 News, said: “Jamal Osman has brought the Channel 4 News audience a unique understanding of Somalia’s struggle with natural disaster, famine and internal conflict. His knowledge has enabled him to tell stories that most other journalists would struggle to reach, or understand, explaining this complicated country with fantastic simplicity. We’re so pleased to see him recognised as a leader in journalism about the developing world.”