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Al Jazeera Wins RTS Award for Interview of the Year

Al Jazeera’s Asian investigative programme 101 East has won a prestigious UK journalism prize – the 2019 Royal Television Society (RTS) Television Journalism Award for Interview of the Year.


The award recognises 101 East’s programme ‘Malaysia: Najib Speaks’, in which Al Jazeera’s Mary Ann Jolley gained an exclusive interview with Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak.

It was an extraordinary scoop, given Najib had ordered Jolley to be kicked out of the country three years ago when she was investigating his alleged links to a high-profile murder.


With Najib currently facing more than 40 criminal charges, Jolley gained unrivalled access to the former leader in his first long-form television interview since his government was ousted last year.


In a hard-hitting interview, Jolley questioned Najib about what has been branded the world’s biggest financial scandal, where $4.5 billion disappeared from the country’s sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.


Jolley’s incisive questions produced fascinating revelations and high drama, with Najib eventually storming out of the interview.  The resulting programme went viral, leading to an avalanche of front-page headlines, news articles, memes and podcasts.


The RTS Awards “recognise creative and excellent journalism” broadcast in the UK, rewarding high quality journalism on important and dramatic stories at home and abroad.


Giles Trendle, Managing Director of Al Jazeera English, said: “I’m delighted that Al Jazeera’s Asian investigative programme 101 East is being recognised by this top award and particularly the forensic interviewing skills of Mary Ann Jolley.  Al Jazeera remains committed to producing the highest quality journalism and bringing clarity to the issues that affect the lives of all people.”


Senior 101 East Reporter Mary Ann Jolley said: “I am honoured to receive this award on behalf of Al Jazeera’s 101 East team, which continues to hold the powerful to account in one of the most dynamic regions of the world”.


The awards were announced at a gala ceremony on February 27 in London and were attended by 101 East’s Senior Reporter Mary Ann Jolley, Producer Sara Yeo and Editor Andy Mees (photo attached).




WATCH: Al Jazeera English’s Mary Ann Jolley takes former Malaysian prime minister to task over former corruption allegations: