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Tatar-Bashkir Video Report on Parents of Sect Children Spotlights Delicate Cultural Issues

Tatarstan -- A video grab shows members of a religious group, followers of a local spiritual leader, who had lived for more than a decade in a bunker below a mosque, exiting the underground cave, in Kazan, 09Aug2012
In the multimedia category, we decided to recognize an entry submitted by the Tatar-Bashkir Service produced by Rimma Bikmukhamatova and Raynur Shakir in Kazan.

It should be noted from the outset that with this decision, we are recognizing more the content of the video, for we feel a little more work could go into the production side.
However, the jury was unanimous in noting that the video really stood out in terms of the unusual and even disturbing angle it chose.

The video boldly tackles a very sensitive and serious problem -- that of children forced to live in unacceptable conditions, in accordance with the ascetic and severe lifestyles of their deeply religious families -- but focusing on the agony of the parents whose children have been taken away by state authorities.

Instead of following a more conventional logic -- justifying the state's decision and stressing the genuinely improper conditions in which the families kept their children -- the video shows the perspective of the parents, who are angry and confused, believing that their right to make decisions for their children has been taken away.

Overall, the video results in a truly thought-provoking piece, bringing to the spotlight important and delicate issues such as culture wars, children's welfare, and parent's rights.