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Laadli names Star's 'Nayi Soch' as 'Game Changer', 37 awarded for excellence in gender portrayal

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MUMBAI: Population First, with the support of India’s leading entertainment channel Colors Viacom 18, International Advertising Association (IAA) and UNFPA India, announced the winners of the First South Asia Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 at Tata Theatre, NCPA. The awards were presented by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, MP, and hosted by the popular television journalist Barkha Dutt.

The current edition of Laadli Media Awards which is one of its kind awards on gender issues had for the first time invited entries from five South Asian nations with the support of IAA. The entries were invited and the best were chosen from five nations which include – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Nepal.

"Media is a messenger which wielded power, but is also bound by responsibility. Media is a mirror that exists not to flatter, but to reveal what is lacking in our society, which is flawed and must be corrected,” said Tharoor at the First Edition of South Asia Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity. He said that the media must break gender stereotypes and not reinforce them. He applauded the winners and boosted them to continue doing good work like the Lifetime Achievement Awarded, noted Activist Ms. Kamla Bhasin. 'Breaking News - Challenging Gender Barriers', a book, which is compilation of the stories of the winners this year was also launched at the event.

Dr. A.L. Sharada, Director of Population First and the driving force behind the Laadli campaign, says:  “From a mere 100 entries in 2007 to more than 1500 entries in 2015, Laadli Media Awards have come a long way in acknowledging the media’s contribution in women empowerment and gender issues. Today with the expansion of Laadli to other developing nations through the support of IAA, we look forward to stories pertaining to gender from five South Asian countries. We hope to continue this momentum, and create a long standing impact of changing the society riddled with patriarchal mindsets”.

The evening saw performance by noted Kathak dancer Shri Vishal Krishna, (grandson of Sitara Devi) and a snippet performance from the Laadli Media award winning play Shikhandi by Faezeh Jalali and team.

The winners of South Asian nations included, Lubna Jerar Naqvi who has 25 years of journalism experience and covers gender sensitive issues in Pakistan. She is a part of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) as gender safety expert. She has written extensively on sexual harassment, violence against women, honour killings, child marriage and gender equality at large in Pakistan. From Sri Lanka, Dinitha Ratnayake hold a decade experience in journalism and is currently the Deputy Manager –Current Affairs in one of Sri Lanka’s major radio channels “Neth FM”. She has worked on several investigations with regards to women’s concerns in the country and speaks evocatively on women’s rights issues. Ramkala Khadka is a senior journalist of over 15 years experience with a leading Nepali newspaper, Annapurna Post. She specialises in writing on women's issues. She has written critically about the citizenship rights of women and inheriting citizenship from both parents. She has also covered the affects of domestic violence on the children at home. Martine Luchmun is a senior journalist with Le Sentinelle. Her journalistic work covers women’s rights issues for the average Mauritian women readers ensuring these women have a greater understanding of their rights. She has written feature stories that showcase women role models who have overcome various odds and are still fighting on.

Prominent Awards:

The South Asia Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 for the category‘Best Short Film’ was given to Radhika Puri for her short film ‘Water Wives’ which digs into the existing system of husbands marrying multiple times inorder to have wives double as labourers to fetch water.

The Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 for ‘Books in the Novella’category was given to Volga for her book Liberation of Sita published by Harper Collins. The Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 for ‘Films’ was given to one of the most appreciated film ‘Parched’ and ‘Neel Battey Sannatta’.

Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 for the category ‘Best Campaign’ was given to ‘Vicks’ for its brilliant portrayal of third gender. The Laadli Media Award for ‘Game Changer’ is given to ‘Nayi Soch’ by Star India. Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 for the category ‘Best Play’ was given to "Shikhandi" the story of the In-betweens, written and directed by Faezeh Jalali.

The South Asia Laadli Media & Advertising Award for Gender Sensitivity 2015-16 - Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Kamla Bhasin, Renowned Women’s Rights Activist.

The jury for the Laadli Media awards included prestigious names editors, writers, academicians and media professionals like KV Sridhar, Sameera Khan, Deepa Gehlot, Dilip D’Souza, Kumar Ketkar, Amrita Chowdhury, Amy Fernandes, Kalpana Sharma, Gurbir Singh, Ayaz Memon, Namita Roy Ghose, Kiran Khalap, Namrata Zakaria, Neeru Nanda.

Laadli Media Fellowship:

Announcement of the four recipients of The Laadli Media Fellowship were also made during the evening. These journalists include Katta Kavitha from Telugu daily regional Nava Telengana, Shreya Ila Anusuya, a freelance journalist, Sindhuvasini from BBC Hindi and Vinaya Deshpande from Sunday Guardian. Each of the journalist receiving the fellowship will write four investigative reports over a period of four months on the theme of Gender and Sexuality.

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