AFP’s first documentary podcast, The Poisoning, has been awarded a prize

The Prix de l’écoute des collégiens et lycéens” (the “High School Students Listening Prize”) of the French Longueurs d’ondes (Wavelengths) festival has just been awarded a prize. The Longueurs d’ondes festival is one of the most prestigious podcast festivals in France.  

The Poisoning tells the story of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s most determined and outspoken opponent, Alexei Navalny. Navalny was nearly poisoned to death in August 2020 in Siberia and has been held in a high-security prison, some 230 kilometres east of Moscow, for the past two years.  

In 2021, AFP decided to create this series, hosted in English by Moscow journalists Jonathan Brown and Andrea Palasciano and produced by podcast journalists Sarah-Lou Lepers and Antoine Boyer in Paris. This five-part series,  a riveting tale of Russia's crackdown on any form of dissent, was released in September and October 2021, a few months ahead of the invasion of Ukraine.  

It combines first-hand accounts, in-person reporting and sound archives drawn from 10 years’ worth of AFPTV’s video production. Many of those interviewed are now jailed or exiled. 

AFP is delighted to have been chosen for this prize by several thousand high school students, a proof that engaging young audiences is possible, even with complex international issues. And proof also that podcasts are a way for young people to learn the relevance of journalism.   

Antoine Boyer and Sarah-Lou Lepers will represent the team at the awards ceremony on Friday, 3 February, in Brest.  

The French version of The Poisoning, Le Poison de Poutine, was recently featured by the French public radio France Inter as one of the best French podcasts to understand Putin. It was also hailed by the magazine Telerama, a news and culture weekly, as a compelling series, and, last but not least, by The Moscow Times, which embedded it for several weeks on its podcasts page.