Star's 'FocusAsia' bags awards at Intl Wildlife Film Festival

MUMBAI: The team behind Star's weekly current affairs programme FocusAsia has something to crow about. Bear Baiting - a report produced by FocusAsia which deals with a barbaric Pakistan sport won first place in the News Story category. It also got a Finalist Award at The 26th International Wildlife Film Festival (IWFF). The IWFF concludes tomorrow in Missoula Montana.



FocusAsia airs on Star World every Sunday at 5:30 pm(IST). IWFF attracted more than 200 entries worldwide vying for industry recognition. FocusAsia's report was also aired on the National Geographic Channel in the US. It uncovers a brutal sport in Pakistan known as "bear baiting" in which dogs and captive Asiatic black bears are forced to fight each other, leading to rapid decline in the black bear population for more than a century. The report also highlights the steadfast efforts of conservationists in Pakistan to save the bear from extinction.

The annual IWFF, a wildlife film, television and media organisation based in Montana, US, is the world's first juried wildlife film competition. The awards are granted by a jury composed of experts on wildlife media and the science of wildlife and habitat. Awards are based on excellence in biological accuracy, technical achievement, aesthetic presentation and educational value.

At the IWFF, National Geographic Channel's Vanishing Giants also got a finalists award. The honouree list also included Animal Planets' The Lost Elephants of Timbuktu . Its special Kabul Zoo Rescue also won a merit award. Itc co-production with the BBC Amazon Assassin was also cited.

An official release informs that FocusAsia explores a wide range of social, economic and political issues across the Asia region and provides an in-depth and investigative look at the issues shaping Asia today. Since its launch in January 2000, FocusAsia's team has travelled to 18 countries, filed more than 180 reports and won numerous awards, including a finalist award for Best News Magazine Programme at the 2000 New York Festival and Best Current Affairs Programme award at the 1999 Asian Television Award. FocusAsia correspondents have pocketed the first prize in the English television category at the esteemed Annual Amnesty International Human Rights Press Awards in Hong Kong successively from 2000 to 2002.

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