WFP Bangladesh today presented its Media Awards 2008 to six journalists, for their contribution to raising awareness about food security, hunger and nutrition issues. WFP bestowed the Awards to the journalists at a ceremony in the city.
In the print media national level category, Kawser Rahman of The Daily Janakantha won the First Prize, while Md. Ashraf Ali of The Daily Naya Diganta and Khawza Mainuddin jointly received the Second Prize. In electronic media/TV category, Shahnaz Sharmeen Rinvy of Bangla Vision secured the First Prize, and Keramatullah Biplob of Channel One won the Second Prize. Mahmood Moni of The Daily Azadi, published from Chittagong, received the Special Award in the dailies published outside Dhaka category.
Eminent economist and former Advisor to the Caretaker Government, Professor Dr. Wahiduddin Mahmud, attended the ceremony as the Chief Guest and presented the WFP trophies to the winners at the National Press Club, Dhaka. The Financial Express editor, Moazzem Hossain, was present on the occasion as a Special Guest, while John Aylieff, WFP Representative presided over the ceremony. Mamun Rashid, Managing Director and Citigroup Country Officer, addressed the audience on food security and the media.
The first prize-winners received cheques of Taka 50,000, with Taka 30,000 for those in second place, while the special prize-winners won Tk.20,000. The winners also received special trophies. All journalists whose entries were qualified for the award received certificates.
Announcing the awards, John Aylieff, WFP Representative said, “The media has a great role to play in Bangladesh where over 65 million poor people or 45% of the population consume less than minimum daily recommended amount of food. We hope the media will continue to capture the sufferings of ultra-poor people and bring their issues to decision makers.”
The Chief Guest, Professor Dr. Wahiduddin Mahmud, emphasised the need for a vibrant media in a democratic system, and called for a stronger collaboration between the media and development partners, in order to improve the policy and programme environment for addressing the chronic food insecurity of the poorest and most vulnerable: “This award, I believe, will encourage media professionals to acquire a more in-depth understanding of food security and improve reporting, in order to create a greater awareness on nutritional and other food based development programmes.”
The Editor of the Financial Express, Moazzem Hossain, stressed the need of the right perspective on food security analysis when writing a piece for the media. “Often our reporters highlight the availability aspects of food security, ignoring the access to food issues among the ultra-poor.” Appreciating WFP’s role in the fight against hunger, Mr. Mamun Rashid said, “Under the leadership of WFP, we are planning to launch a Business Alliance Against Hunger in Bangladesh.” Mr Rashid added, “WFP has taken a very remarkable initiative introducing this media award, to encourage the media professionals to put in their best efforts to capture the sufferings of the ultra-poor people.”
WFP introduced the Annual “WFP Media Awards on Food Security of the Ultra-Poor” in 2006, for excellence in food security and hunger related reporting in Bangladesh. For the Awards in 2008, investigative/analytical reports published or broadcasted in national and regional dailies (Bengali/English) and electronic media, from 1 August 2007 to 30 September 2008, were eligible for this award.
WFP launched the Awards to encourage media professionals to raise national awareness and increase debate on issues of food security, and how it impacts on the most vulnerable sectors of society, especially poor women and children.
The Awards are expected to encourage media professionals to acquire a more in-depth understanding and appreciation of food security in Bangladesh.