Women journalists led the way at the recently concluded ‘Journalism for an Equitable Asia‘ awards 2019-2020. Nine out of the top 10 awardees were women journalists.
In its first year, over 100 journalists from Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam participated.
The award winners were announced at an online event on 2 December with journalists, media experts, development workers, and people from across Asia.
Speaking at the event, Mustafa Talpur, Oxfam’s Asia Advocacy and Campaigns Manager, called for tackling inequality as a political choice that leaders must make to build an Asia that works for all its people.
Didem Tali won the first prize for her piece “Our Mother Sold Us for One Lakh Each” for New Naratif telling a harrowing story of victims facing Myanmar facing human trafficking. Didem accepted her prize, and honoured that the awards “recognised the work of journalists to champion marginalised voices”.
In second place were Jessica Bartolome and Donabel Magsino, who produced “A Very Long Summer” (GMA News). They wrote about the struggles of farmers in Morong, Rizal due to harsh climate disasters. Both the writers saw the award as an opportunity for “shining light on the inequalities against all farmers in The Philippines”.
Nutcha Tantivitayapitak from Prachatai came in third for her story “The forest reclamation case: when the court
sent the Sapwai villagers to prison and off their land”, reporting on 14 Sapwai villagers from Chaiyaphum Province who were sentenced to imprisonment with their lands illegally grabbed. Nutcha said she’s inspired to “continue to work as a reporter to expose inequalities”.
Dr James Gomez, Regional Director of Asia Centre, congratulated the winners, especially women journalists, for “speaking up against poverty and inequalities faced by women as a whole through various lenses”.
In addition to the top three prize awards, the top 10 journalists also received cash awards. The top five from each participating country will receive certificates in recognition.
The event concluded with the launching of the 2020-21 cycle of the award. Nominations are now open with the theme “Inequality crisis and the pandemic“.
Those who are interested in the nominations for next year’s cycle can submit their entries here.
“This pandemic has shown that no one can be safe – survive and thrive in isolation. Systemic change is essential to tackle it, the inequalities, and future crises,” said Nipuna Kumbalathara, Media and Communications Lead for Oxfam in Asia.
“As our participant journalists have shown, they have the skills and visibility to highlight the problems and call for solutions,” he added.