AJ Contrast wins One World Media Award

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Al Jazeera Digital’s innovation studio site highlights challenges women with disabilities face in navigating megacities.

Published On 26 Jun 2022

Al Jazeera’s immersive storytelling and media innovation studio, AJ Contrast, has won a top prize at the One World Media Awards in London.

One World jurors conferred the win in the Digital Media category for AJ Contrast’s interactive site, Inaccessible Cities.

The project brings audiences into the experiences of three women with disabilities as they struggle to navigate their cities – Mumbai, Lagos and New York.

Winners were announced across 15 categories during a ceremony in London on June 16.

The One World Media Awards recognise excellence in unreported stories from the Global South that “break stereotypes, change the narrative and connect people across cultures”.

Inaccessible Cities added the award to numerous other wins so far this year in the Drum Online, Gracie, New York Festivals and Telly Awards.

More than one billion people – 15 percent of the global population – experience some form of disability. Many live in urban areas.

The Inaccessible Cities site begins with a simple question: “How would you get around a megacity if you couldn’t walk, see signs or hear cars passing by?”

“It’s a great honour to be recognised by the One World Media Awards,” said Zahra Rasool, head of AJ Contrast.

“Our aim has always been to highlight unreported stories about the people most impacted by inequality, often in the Global South.

“With Inaccessible Cities, we wanted to show how a lack of accessible public transport and infrastructure impacts people with disabilities – especially women – from fully and independently participating in society.

“Our aim is to continue inspiring a new standard for digital news content that’s fully inclusive of people with disabilities and to bring awareness to their challenges.”

In keeping with AJ Contrast’s emphasis on collaboration, the team worked closely with journalists with disabilities, local talent and the women who are the subject of the interactive experience.

“We are very proud of our AJ Contrast team,” said Carlos van Meek, Al Jazeera’s director of Digital Innovation and Programming. “Despite the production challenges brought on by COVID-19, this driven, talented team has continued to innovate and set the benchmark for immersive storytelling.”

Other Al Jazeera Digital teams made the One World long list, including the AJLabs series Visualising the Afghan War and two films by short documentary unit AJ Close Up – Russia’s Banned Youth and Norway’s Afghan Sons.

The Al Jazeera English broadcast channel also was long listed in the News category for the 101 East documentary India’s COVID Warriors. Jurors evaluated a record number of entries from 96 countries.

The complete list of One World winners can be found in the One World Media winners’ gallery.

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