Friday, October 14, 2016

Stories around plight of children dominate Aster Media Awards
Media’s Positive Impact reiterated at Awards Ceremony; Excellence in national, regional and international journalism recognised with total cash awards of Rs. 25 lakhs and citations

October 14, 2016, Delhi: Prof. P. J. Kurien, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, and Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman & Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare and Founder & Managing Trusteee of Aster DM Foundation felicitated the winners of the inaugural edition of the Aster Media Awards.

Shri. Amitabh Kant, Chief Executive Officer, NITI Aayog also graced the occasion and shared his thoughts on role of media in bridging India’s social welfare needs. Three of the five winning stories centred on children suggesting the underlying importance of protecting the welfare of the country’s future generation. Sarika Malhotra from Business Today and Manoj Sharma from Hindustan Times were the joint winners in the national category. Sarika Malhotra’s heart-wrenching story made the cut for raising awareness about India’s precarious issue of child labour. Manoj Sharma’s inspirational story about a rag picker who went on to become the Editor of Balaknama, a newspaper managed and edited by street children also resonated with the jury.Aasheesh Sharma and Asad Ali got a Special Mention from the jury for the quality of reporting on a news story published in the HT Brunch magazine. The awards function was graced by eminent personalities from different walks of life. 

The award in the state category was given to Sinoj Thomas from Malayalam Manorama. The Award in the International category was shared by Sajila Sasheedharan for her story in Khaleej Times and Anand Raj of Gulf News. Sinoj Thomas’ influential story on the plight of tribals prompting affirmative action from the Kerala government was chosen the winner. Anand Raj’s story brought to the fore the issues of a neglected government school which resulted in many citizens lending support. Sajila Sasheedharan’s story eased recruitment of Indian workers in the Middle East, due to responsive action by the Indian government. 

The winners received citations and shared a total cash award of Rs. 25 lakh.

In a video screened at the Awards function, Shri. J.P. NaddaHon’ble Minister for Health and Family Welfare said, “Aster Media Awards is great step to ensure that the fourth pillar of our civil society remains committed to reporting on various areas of social impact. Journalism has an ability to impact public, policy and the politics of a country. So, I congratulate the recipients of the Aster Media Awards for their invaluable contribution. I hope more journalists will take part in this mission in upcoming years and will play a role in bringing social change through their reporting.”

Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to the Hon’ble President of India and Chairman of the Jury for Aster Media Awards said, “All these stories demonstrated the one factor that the whole jury was looking for - quality and impact, and that’s what makes them the winners.”

Dr. Azad Moopen, Chairman & Managing Director, Aster DM Healthcare and Founder & Managing Trusteee of Aster DM Foundation said, ‘’I would like to congratulate all the participants of the Aster Media Awards for their objective, independent, insightful and balanced reporting on social issues. A lot of their work is helping create awareness about critical issues and influencing positive change. We hope that the awards will encourage news media organisations to keep social development as a critical component of the editorial narrative and ensure inclusiveness.’’

Prof. P. J. Kurien, Shri. Amitabh Kant and Dr. Azad Moopen discussed the critical role of media in the nation’s effort to enable an inclusive society. The awards function also witnessed a panel of leading luminaries discussing the need for Right to Health in India. Dr. Syeda Hameed, Former Member, Planning Commission of India, Dr. M.C. Misra, Director, AIIMS, Prof. Ramanan Laxminarayan, Distinguished Professor, Public Health Foundation of India, Shri. Venu Rajamony along with Dr. Azad Moopen were part of the panel. (please refer to page 3 for details)

The Aster Media Awards is conceptualized by Aster DM Foundation in recognition of the impact of mainstream media in shaping public awareness, acknowledgement and action in the social sector. The first edition of awards were adjudicated by an independent jury comprising Shri. Venu Rajamony – Press Secretary to the Hon’ble President of India, Ms. Shahnaz Pakrawan – Founder of SP Productions and former newsreader of BBC, Mr. Rajrishi Singhal – Senior Fellow, Geo-economics studies, Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations and former Executive Editor of the Economic Times and Mr. Rahul Sharma- President of Rediffusion Communications and Former Editor of Khaleej Times, Dubai.

About Aster DM Foundation
Aster DM Foundation is the umbrella under which the corporate social responsibility activities of Aster DM Healthcare, a leading healthcare provider in India and GCC, is undertaken. Dr. Azad Moopen is the Founder and Managing Trustee of Aster DM Foundation. The activities of the Foundation are targeted in India, Middle East, Africa, Philippines and Afghanistan. These programmes include Free Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Programme (Save The Little Heart), Early Diseases Detection & Cancer Screening Centres (EDDCs), Community Dialysis Centres (CDCs), Radiation Oncology Centres, Doctor on Calls “Mobile Clinics”, Health & Safety Awareness Programme, Free or Subsidized Treatments and MILES Village Adoption – Health Intervention. “Aster Safe Roads” is an ongoing initiative which focuses on creating awareness about road safety.

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