CNN YJA '07 honours 12 awardees across India and Pakistan

NEW DELHI: The Fifth CNN Young Journalist Awards saw an amazing entry in the "Citizen Journalist" category and Kusum Devi, a poor woman from the outskirts of Delhi, walked away with the first prize while Anchal Vohra (NDTV 24 X 7) and Priyanka Pathak Narain (Mint, Mumbai) won the CNN YJA of the Year 2007 for the TV and print/online categories.

The winner for the two new categories to mark the 60th anniversary of India and Pakistan's Independence, Journalist Award and Photo Journalist of the Year Award, went to Rubab Karar (The Herald, Karachi, Pakistan) and Sujan Singh (Planman Media) respectively.

While Ananya Sengupta (The Telegraph, Mumbai) was adjudged runner up in the CNN Young Journalist in the print/online category, the runner up for the CNN YJA 2007 in the TV category was Maryam Pervaiz of Dawn News from Lahore, Pakistan.

Subuhi Khan from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi, won the CNN Aspiring Journalist Award in the TV category and Nina Mehta from the Asian College of Journalism won in the print/online category.

The runners up for the for the category are Jamma Jagannath and Divya Gojer, both from the Indian Institute of New Media, Bengaluru, for the print and TV categories respectively.

Shabaz Khan from Press Trust of India, New Delhi came runner up in the Indian Photo Journalist of 2007 category, while Dharmesh Shah from Chennai and Puneet Joshi from Bengaluru shared the runner up award in the Citizen Journalist category.

The two outstanding reportages, by any standards, were those by Kusum Devi and Rubab Karar.

Kusum Devi was refused admission for her two children in schools and used the Right to Information Act to get them in, but followed it up with an AV coverage of the antipathy of government school officials that led to 50 (so far) children getting admitted.

Rubab Karar's work was also equally gutsy, as she recorded on video the statements of women on what happened in the infamous Lal Masjid stand off between Pakistani army and Taliban fighters in July, and it was more unusual because it got women to respond to allegations that the ladies' madrasa inside was being used for flesh trade.

The Journalist of the Year 2007 won a laptop and citation, while the Photo Journalist of 2007 received an SLR digital camera and citation for his series of photographs titled "Police Comes to Culprits Rescue".

The extraordinary eight-day sting operation of an Ashram where the Baba was systematically raping mentally challenged children, an operation from NDTV 24 X 7, by Anchal Vohra bagged the CNN YJA in the TV category. The expose had shaken the establishment and forced the government to act.

Speaking on the occasion, CNN's India head Phil Turner said that the basics of being fair, objective and balanced must be also seen along with for whom the story is being done: for the camera, for your self aggrandisement or for the reader of viewer.

Ananya Sengupta, who came runner up in the print category for her story "Heartbreak House" on why young women with loving partners are increasingly committing suicide, along with Maryam Parvaiz for his TV reportage "Chained People", got Nokia N Series Phones, trophies and citations.

And for the first prize winners in the category, Priyanka Pathan Narain (Sethsamudram Series) and Anchal Vohra of NDTV 24 X 7, it is an all expenses paid trip to the News Xchange Conference 2008, a meet of global leaders of the media professionals and broadcasters.

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