‘Made in Bangladesh’ wins int’l Emmy Award

CBC News show the fifth estate has won a 2014 International Emmy Award for its documentary about the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse in Bangladesh.

Made in Bangladesh, which first aired Oct. 11, 2013, is an investigation that found that dangerous working conditions remained widespread in the Bangladeshi garment industry following the disaster earlier that year that killed more than 1,100 workers at the nine-storey building.

ranaplazaIt also found the industry continues to supply major retailers in Canada such as Loblaw and Wal-Mart, despite commitments by the companies to make improvements.

Host Mark Kelley travelled to Bangladesh to track down workers who said they were still forced to make clothes for Canada in dangerous conditions. Kelley also went behind bars for an exclusive interview with the jailed owner of one of the biggest factories inside Rana Plaza, who detailed his long-standing, multimillion-dollar connections to Canada.

“Everyone at the show is so proud of this story,” said Jim Williamson, executive producer of the fifth estate.

Mark Kelley travelled to Bangladesh and interviewed garment workers who said they were still forced to make clothes for Canada in dangerous conditions, even after last year’s disaster. (the fifth estate)

“It is in the classic fifth estate tradition of strong investigative journalism mixed with compelling storytelling. What happened to the garment workers in Dhaka is unimaginably sad. Our challenge was to make this a story that no one could or should ever forget. The awarding of the Emmy suggests our team succeeded in doing that.”

In Bangladesh, Kelley spoke with a young survivor of the collapse of Rana Plaza who made clothes for Joe Fresh. She was trapped under two dead bodies under the rubble for three days. Her mother, who also worked there, was killed.

Meanwhile, the investigative team held major Canadian retailers to account in its discovery that Wal-Mart, for example, was still getting clothes from a factory that the company had found did not meet its standards.

“The fifth estate continues to push boundaries with its provocative and groundbreaking investigations, and we’re so proud of the team for the important and brave work they do,” said Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor in chief of CBC News.

“This award is a testament to the priority CBC News places on investigative journalism that makes a difference in Canada and that challenges injustice. The Canadian connection to the Bangladeshi garment industry was an important story, and Mark Kelley and the fifth estate team took big risks making this documentary.”

Aruti was on the sixth floor of Rana Plaza when it collapsed. She says it happened about an hour after she and other workers were forced to return to work. (the fifth estate)

Made in Bangladesh was produced and directed by Lysanne Louter, with associate producer Tarannum Kamlani.

The International Emmy Award in the current affairs and news category was announced at Lincoln Center in New York. Other nominees were from Romania, Argentina and Hong Kong. International winners were recognized alongside their American news and documentary peers.

The fifth estate is Canada’s premier investigative documentary program. The program airs on CBC Television on Fridays at 9 p.m.