PETALING JAYA: Malaysian investigative journalism outfit R.AGE has been nominated for a Peabody Award, one of the most prestigious awards in American media.
R.AGE’s Predator In My Phone undercover investigation of online child sexual crimes is among the 60 Peabody nominees for 2017, from which 30 winners will be chosen.
Other nominees this year include major international media organisations such as CNN, VICE, HBO, BBC, NPR and Netflix. This is the first time a Malaysian production has been nominated in the awards' nearly eight-decade history.
“True to tradition, we are proud to present a rich mix of excellence in the craft of storytelling,” said Jeffrey Jones, executive director of Peabody, in a statement last week.
“These stories reflect important social issues and exemplify the power of diverse voices and platforms in media today.”
The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony in New York on May 19.
Comedian and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah senior correspondent Hasan Minhaj, who made headlines last year for his roasting of US President Donald Trump at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, will be hosting the event.
“It’s all a bit surreal right now. We have had a few days to let it sink in, but we still can’t quite believe that we could be in New York, a month from now, receiving a Peabody Award,” said R.AGE deputy executive editor and producer Ian Yee.
“I mean, Beyonce was a winner last year (for her acclaimed visual album Lemonade).
“It’s just insane that we’re even in that same space.”
The Peabody Awards was established in 1940 to recognise the most compelling and empowering storytelling in media, and it has been held every year since.
This year, more than 1,200 entries were received, with R.AGE and Al Jazeera being the only nominees from Asia.
Other notable projects nominated this year include Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Star Trek: Discovery, Saturday Night Live’s political satire segments and CNN’s coverage of the fall of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.
R.AGE was founded in 2005 as a small team of writers for The Star’s youth section.
In late 2015, the team decided to revamp itself into an investigative multimedia journalism outfit that would not only report on issues, but create and advocate solutions as well, which the public could actively participate in to affect positive change.
The Predator In My Phone project, for example, helped push through new laws against child sexual crimes by combining undercover documentary videos with an interactive website that allowed the public to lobby their MPs.
Since the revamp, the team has won 17 major awards, including the World Young Reader Prize, the World Digital Media Awards, several Asian Media Awards, the United Nations Malaysia Award and the Kajai Award.
R.AGE’s latest big project, Student/Trafficked (rage.my/trafficked), an undercover investigation of Bangladeshi student traffickers, is in the running for at least two international awards.
“We’re happy just to be nominated (for the Peabody), but we won’t be resting on our laurels,” said Yee.
“There are so many more stories out there that need to be told, so many issues where we feel we can make a difference. We’ll keep on pushing.”
For more details on the Peabody-nominated Predator In My Phone, go to www.predator.my