Media Advocacy Group (MAG) in collaboration with UN Women marked the 106th International Women’s Day with an ‘Award Ceremony’ to honour best journalist and best photojournalist under the theme of gender equality with ‘Gender Responsive Journalism Award’. The chief guest in the event was Honorable Minster of Information and Communications Sherdhan Rai. Other guests in attendance were Mr. Ziad Sheik, Country Representative of UN Women; Mr. Krishna Hari Baskota, Chief Commissioner, National Information Commission; Mr. Borna Bahadur Karki, Chairperson, Press Council Nepal; Dr. Mahendra Bista, President , Federation of Nepalese Journalist (FNJ) and Mr. Bikas Rauniar; Senior Photojournalist.
The event held on 14th March 2016 at Yak Palace in Lalitpur was attended by 91 participants (M: 48; F: 43) representing Government stakeholders, national media agencies, photojournalists, NGOs and UN women.
Ms. Babita Basnet, President of MAG, in her welcome remark, stressed on the need of gender mainstreaming in the media for promotion of gender equality through media. After formal opening of the event, Ms. Sushmita lama highlighted the program activities in brief and shared that MAG is committed to work towards achieving gender equality in and through media.
As a jury member of selection committee for best write-up, Dr. Mahendra Bista explained the selection process and declared the winner’s name – Mr. Saindra Rai. Mr Rai’s article published in the Himal weekly magazine (20-26 Dec 2015) based on the effect of Indian blockade in the lives of women of Sarlahi district was chosen unanimously by the selection committee as the best article.
Likewise, Mr. Bikas Rauniar, as a jury member of selection committee of photojournalist award also shared the criteria for selection and declared the winner of the best photojournalist – Mr. Manoj Paudel .
After remarks by both the jury member, Mr. Saindra Rai (Reporter) and Mr. Manoj Poudel (Photojournalist) were felicitated with ‘Gender Responsive Journalism Award’ for best write-up and best photography under the broad theme of Gender Equality respectively. They were awarded with the certificate and cash prize 25,000 rupees.
In the program, Mr. Ziad Sheikh, Country Representative of UN Women, shared that the Journalism Award will motivate the journalists to contribute in promoting gender equality in and through media. Mr. Sheikh used the forum to acknowledge the Government of Nepal for its leadership role in ensuring women’s rights in all parts of the country. Emphasizing the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, he urged the need to step it up for Gender Equality to achieve the target of Planet 50-50 by 2030- a planet of equality that ensure equal rights for all irrespective of gender and stressed on the need to work continuously from all side. He also appreciated media in Nepal for breaking new ground to discuss issues of women’s rights. At the end, he said that media should highlight and share the stories of empowered women for betterment of women position in the country.
Then, Mr. Borna Bahadur Karki shared that woman empowerment is very important for country’s development and emphasized on the need to increase women participation in media.
Speaking at the event, Hon. Minster Sherdhan Rai shared that the new constitution has protected rights of women irrespective of their religion and region. The time has come to execute those rights into practise. He also shared that high level committee to review media related policy has recently formed.