Broadcaster Al Jazeera’s interview with former premier Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak won the “Interview of the Year” prize at the Royal Television Society Television Awards 2019.
The interview by Mary Ann Jolley in the 101 East Al Jazeera English programme titled Malaysia: Najib Speaks won the award beating two others – privacy campaigner Max Mosley for Channel 4, and British singer Sir Cliff Richard for ITV.
101 East Al-Jazeera, in a tweet, wrote “@AJ101East is thrilled to announce we’ve been awarded Interview of the Year at the prestigious @RTS_media Awards in London. Watch @jolleyma’s interview with former Malaysia PM @NajibRazak here: http://aje.io/najib ”
According to the RTS jury, all the nominees were great examples of the interviewer’s craft.
“But one interview stood out for its courage, tenacity and sheer unadulterated watchability – Malaysia: Najib Speaks.
“Although the story focused on an issue few would have known about prior to the interview, this did not detract from the viewer’s ability to understand the jaw-dropping venality of the interviewee,” it said.
The jury added that the interviewer’s “forensic approach was compelling, her knowledge formidable and her ability to combine persistence with grace quite extraordinary”.
In October last year, when the interview was being recorded, Najib lost his cool as he was quizzed over matters like the notorious “pink diamond” and 1Malaysia Development Berhad.
However, Najib later apologised for his outburst, saying that he was concerned for his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and his sons, Norashman and Riza Aziz, who were being questioned by the police at that time.
“Although the interview went beyond our agreed schedule and beyond the scope which we had agreed on, I was happy to answer, those additional questions,” he said.