Grand format television category - international jury
Vaughan SMITH (Frontline Club / Al Jazeera)
"Blood and Dust" – Afghanistan – october 2010
Vaughan Smith is an independent video journalist who went self-‐funded to Afghanistan in October 2010 for one month. He spent 2 weeks with the US Army’s 214th Aviation Regiment in Camp Dwyer in Helmand, Southern Afghanistan, mainly flying over the Marjah area, occupied by US Marines.
Smith had been looking for a way of reporting the suffering of the Afghan war rather than just its machinery; having felt that his earlier ‘embedded’ work there had failed to achieve this.
Smith was required to sign a contract with the US Military that didn’t allow him to use images of injured soldiers without the soldiers written permission. But he was not allowed to go into the hospitals in Afghanistan to seek these permissions. Consequently Smith had to track down injured soldiers in the USA and approach them there after they had been repatriated.
Smith sold the work to Al Jazeera’s English channel because the British and American broadcasters that he approached needed to censor the images for being too graphic and he felt that doing so would undermine their value.
Smith has been reporting from Afghanistan for more than 2 decades.