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CNN documentary wins Amnesty International award

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Locked up and forgotten
  • CNN documentary highlighted plight of mentally disabled people in Kenya
  • An estimated three million people are deprived of medical care and therapy, and hidden away
  • Documentary sparked international interest, calls for government action

(CNN) -- CNN has won an Amnesty International Media award for its documentary World's Untold Stories: Locked up and Forgotten.

The winning half-hour film, presented by CNN's Nairobi correspondent David McKenzie, highlights the negligence and social taboos suffered by Kenya's mentally disabled community, who live a life hidden away in slums and remote villages across the country.

Deprived of medical care and therapy, an estimated three million mentally disabled individuals are ostracized by society, concealed and locked away inside their own communities, often by their own families.

Watch the documentary Lost and Forgotten Video

When it first aired on CNN the documentary sparked widespread debate, bringing the plight of Kenya's mentally disabled to the forefront of the world's media, leading domestic and international human rights groups to call for government intervention.

McKenzie said: "It's fitting that the Amnesty International logo is a candle because it is an honor and a privilege to be awarded this prize for a documentary that shines a light on the shocking state of mental health in Kenya and beyond."

The Amnesty International Media Award jurors praised the program for putting the issue high on the media's agenda and subsequently bringing the matter to the attention of Kenyan government, who have called for change.

"David McKenzie took an unknown story and brought it to the attention of the world, testament that hard hitting journalism can incite global change," CNN International Managing Director Tony Maddox said. "It is an honor to have your journalism recognized by Amnesty International as powerful enough to truly make a difference."

The award is the World's Untold Stories strand's second win in the International Television and Radio category since it first aired on CNN in 2009.

In 2009 the strand took the award with The Forgotten People for its expose of the on-going persecution of the ethnic Rohingya people in their bid to escape terrible privation in Myanmar -- formerly Burma -- and in neighboring countries.