UNICEF has awarded 10 Bangladeshi journalists for their outstanding reporting on children’s rights at the 17th UNICEF Meena Media Awards.
Launched by UNICEF in 2005, the Meena Media Awards recognize excellence in journalistic reporting that promotes the cause of children.
The winning entries were selected by an independent panel of judges from nearly 300 submissions from print, photo and video journalists working in both national and local media outlets, according to a press release.
Stories by winners and nominees are about children forced into marriage and hard labour; of girls struggling to manage their menstrual hygiene without access to clean water; of boys whose only home is the streets; of children whose lives have been disrupted by climate shocks, persecution and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The powerful reporting that we honour today demonstrates the vital role that journalists play in bringing children’s rights to light, and in holding people in power to account. These stories of bitter deprivation, but also everyday triumph against adversity, are an inspiration to us all,” said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.
Talented child journalists under the age of 18 were also awarded.
Their moving reports highlight the importance of giving children the tools and platforms that enable them to voice their own opinions, ideas and thoughts on issues of concern to them.
“We saw some powerful stories this year, and in coming days, weeks and months we need to maintain high standards of compassionate, empathetic reporting to the highest moral standards. Ethics and sensitivity are at the heart of good reporting and the more compelling the story, the more care needs to be given to how it is handled,” said Ruma Paul, Chief Correspondent of Reuters Bangladesh and one of the 2022 award judges.
The UNICEF Meena Media Awards are named after Meena, the popular cartoon character held dear by children and adults in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the world.
The Meena character has been speaking up for the rights of children, and reminding adults of their responsibilities, in Bangladesh and beyond since 1993.
The 2022 UNICEF Meena Media Awards is the 17th in a tradition that started in 2005.
The award ceremony was hosted by UNICEF on Tuesday in a Dhaka hotel.
The guests included Matiur Rahman, Editor, Prothom Alo; Selina Hossain, Novelist and President of the Bangla Academy; Shameem Akhtar, film maker and lecturer at the Pathshala Institute; and Mahfuz Anam, Editor, The Daily Star, who sent a video message for the nominees.
Winners of the UNICEF Meena Media Awards 2022
Emran Hasan Sohel, Kaler Kantho for “Manta children have only the water” (print journalism), Himu Chandra Shil, bdnews24.com for “A day in the life of Rohingya child Ayat Ullah” (print journalism), Jesmin Akter Papri, News Bangla 24.com for “Rising salinity: Adolescent girls take birth control pills to stop their periods” (print journalism), Md. Sazid Hossain, Prothom Alo for “Child education” (photojournalism), Nawaz Farhin Antara, Dhaka Tribune for ‘‘Pad Apa’: A beacon of hope for rural menstrual hygiene” (print journalism)
Shahnaz Sharmeen, Nagorik TV for “Child marriage has officially decreased … but what is the reality?” (videojournalism), Tanvirul Islam, Dhaka Post for “Are we harming children by using terms like ‘auto pass’ and ‘COVID batch’” (print journalism), Zahidul Karim, Daily Prothom Alo for “Price of rice” (photojournalism)
Winners of the UNICEF Children’s Meena Media Awards 2022 (under-18)
Mohammad Mosharof Hossain, Jago News 24.com for “Physical and mental health of Bede children deprived of education are at risk” (print journalism), Khalidul Islam Tanvir, ATN Bangla for “When education becomes deadly” (videojournalism), Dhee Aroni Paul, hello.bdnews24.com for “The road is their address” (photojournalism).