5 underreported stories you should read this January

Original and creative storytelling has the power to break down stereotypes, change the narrative and connect people from different cultures. This January catch up on some of our favourite underreported stories from the past year.

Isobel Yeung for Vice in Iraq


From an all-female police squad in Jaipur to cough syrup addiction in Nigeria, these stories highlight underreported issues or topics from all over the world. Every year the One World Media Awards celebrate and recognise stories like these, representing the best media coverage from developing countries.  In this list, we highlight some of the incredible winners from last year’s awards.


1. Lost Generation
Isobel Yeung, Vice for HBO – Children in Conflict Reporting Award Winner 2019

Iraq has one of the youngest populations of any country in the world. The campaign to defeat Islamic State there is the latest chapter in a cycle of violence that began with the 2003 US-led invasion. When IS swept through Iraq in 2014, ultimately claiming control of a third of the country, its ranks were filled with young, disenfranchised Sunnis who were driven more by grievances with the Iraqi government than by devotion to Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate. After years of conflict, virtually every aspect of the country has been crippled. But now, with Islamic State seemingly on the verge of defeat, the question of what happens next is far from certain. Isobel Yeung travels to Iraq to see what the future looks like through the eyes of the youth.



2. Riding ‘The Death Train’ to America’s Border
Guillermo Galdos, ITN for Channel 4 News – Short Film Award Winner 2019

Filmmaker Guillermo Galdos spent months following two families who, with tens of thousands of others, were so desperate to flee the destruction and poverty in their homelands that they risked everything in their attempt to make it to the United States. This is the story of two women: one travelling through Mexico, bound for the US, desperate to find a safe life with her children, and another who had already made the journey, but was deported back to Guatemala without her daughters. This film is a rare insight into the reality of Trump’s family separation policy and captures the dramatic and difficult situations that result from it.



3. Nigeria’s Patient Prisoners
Linda Pressly, BBC World Service – Radio & Audio Award Winner 2019

A serious and impressive piece of journalism, this hard-hitting programme takes listeners through the stages of an investigation into new mothers who are effectively being held prisoner over unpaid medical bills. Linda Pressly explores the widespread abuse – meeting victims, campaigners and the hospital staff attempting to manage their budgets in a health system under enormous pressure.



4. Rebels with a Cause
Louise Donovan and Smita Sharma, Elle UK with The Fuller Project – Popular Features Award Winner 2019

A woman is raped every 13 minutes in India. As the situation reaches desperate proportions, one police commissioner thinks there might be an answer. In the city of Jaipur, an all-female police squad mounted on motorbikes patrols the streets to keep women safe. Rebels With A Cause brings a fresh perspective to the issue of violence against women in India, documenting this revolutionary squad of 52 policewomen as it launches. Accompanied by award-winning Indian photographer Smita Sharma, ELLE UK’s Louise Donovan travelled to India to join these trailblazing women on duty as they tackle crimes like harassment, rape, molestation and assault.



5. Sweet Sweet Codeine
Charlie Northcott, BBC Africa Eye – TV Documentary Award Winner 2019

The journalistic, investigative and personal come together in this moving and highly impactful investigation into the epidemic of codeine cough syrup addiction in Nigeria. Through intrepid undercover filming, the team exposed the criminal activities of seemingly legitimate pharmacies as they illegally sold industrial quantities of the prescription-only product to disreputable businessmen. The reporter’s own personal connection to the issue added a greater urgency and an emotional weight to the story. The strength of its journalism was reflected in its lasting impact, when, after airing, Nigeria banned the production and import of codeine cough syrup – a remarkable achievement.



One World Media Awards 2020

This year’s awards open for entries on January 7th! Across 15 categories, the awards celebrate and recognise the best media coverage of developing countries; stories that break down stereotypes, change the narrative and connect people from different cultures.