Thursday, 28 May 2020

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XCity Award shortlist: Gesbeen Mohammad

Photograph of Gesbeen Mohammad in black blouse

Photo: Gesbeen Mohammad

The investigative journalist has been nominated for her ground-breaking reporting and television work uncovering terror organisations

 

Gesbeen Mohammad, a former Investigative Journalism MA student at City who graduated in 2015, has been shortlisted for the XCity award; recognised for her work as a producer and investigative journalist. The award and £500 prize honours an ex-City student who has made an outstanding contribution to journalism in the last year.

Mohammad is currently a producer at Hardcash Productions, which she joined straight after completing her course. In the past year alone, she has worked as a producer on PBS FRONTLINE‘s ‘Battle for Hong Kong, for Channel 4, and on Undercover: Inside China’s Digital Gulag (July 2019) for ITV, which she described as one of her favourite productions. 

The documentary goes undercover inside a guarded province in China to provide vivid insight into how the government is holding at least one million Muslims in detention camps without trial. It reveals how 12 million other Muslims are living outside, in what campaigners call an open prison. As a producer, the alumna overlooks the whole production process with a small team. 

“There are very strong rules about when you’re allowed to go undercover. You need evidence of wrongdoing against an organisation or individual beforehand. So, that makes justifying the deceit slightly easier,” Mohammad said.

Photograph of Gesbeen Mohammad in white sleeveless dress with white background
Image: Gesbeen Mohammad

She added: “Investigative journalism is about the truth. Especially in today’s world, I think people don’t hold truth necessarily to the same standard as they would have done in the past – with everyone having a voice out there, it’s hard to make sense of what’s true and what’s not. It is ultimately about just getting to the truth and reporting the truth, with a lot of evidence. I think evidence-based reporting is probably one of the most important things we need at the moment.”

Mohammad also stressed that she would like to continue to work on stories that “really shape our world; stories that reveal the way the world is heading so we can all open our eyes and, hopefully, take action to ensure that we don’t end up on paths that we ultimately do not want”.

The producer was “surprised” to find that she has been shortlisted for the award. “I just didn’t expect it. I don’t have much of a profile out there, so I didn’t think I would be noticed.

“The other shortlisted journalists are amazing people that I have admired for many years. So, I am really, really honoured to be nominated,” she said.

 

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