Al Jazeera’s digital interactive investigation, This is Myanmar’s State of Fear, has been recognised at the prestigious Sigma Awards 2022.
Honouring the very best of data journalism worldwide, This is Myanmar’s State of Fear, was one of just 12 winners chosen by the Sigma Awards panel of judges from a pool of more than 600 entries from 86 organisations in 28 countries.
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A collaboration between Al Jazeera English’s investigative documentary team, 101 East, and Al Jazeera’s digital unit, AJ Labs, the digital interactive investigation exposed cases of alleged torture, mysterious deaths, disappearances, and detention without charge in the months following the military coup in Myanmar in February 2021.
As a forensic, data-driven investigative project, the State of Fear digital interactive drew upon testimonies by those detained by the military, field reportage, and satellite technology to reveal the full extent of the violence forced on the civilian population by the military. The project also utilised data from Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
In the making of State of Fear, Al Jazeera’s 101 East investigative documentary team uncovered a secret facility in a military compound on the outskirts of Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon. Working with the University of London’s Forensic Architecture team, Al Jazeera was able to first locate and then digitally recreate the compound, which was allegedly used for the interrogation and abuse of prisoners.
Sigma Awards Managing Director Simon Rogers said the competition continues to be the global standard for data journalism.
“I was incredibly impressed by the quality of work we saw this year,” Rogers said.
“To be coming through a pandemic and seeing data journalism around the world play such a powerful global role is really inspiring,” he said.
Al Jazeera’s 101 East reporter Ali Fowle thanked Sigma for the award and congratulated the extraordinary team effort that State of Fear involved.
“It is vitally important to shed light on the dire situation in Myanmar,” Fowle said.
“This data-driven project combined investigative reporting and impactful production to document the six months following the military coup on February 1, 2021. It is a lasting digital resource for online audiences,” she said.
101 East’s Senior Supervising Producer Nick Olle said the award was pleasing in light of Al Jazeera English’s commitment to journalistic collaboration.
“At 101 East, we’re keen to deliver more than just video documentary content and it was great to work with AJ Labs and the University of London’s Forensic Architecture team on this creative data-driven project,” he said.
Supported by the Google News Initiative, the Sigma Awards celebrate the very best data journalism from around the world.
Winners for 2022 can be found in the Sigma Awards winners gallery on Facebook.