Now in its 22nd year, the annual OneWorld Media Awards seek to recognize excellence in media coverage that best reflects the social, political and cultural life of people in the developing world. At this year’s ceremony at Kings Hall on 22 June, Lord Malloch-Brown called on philanthropists to ‘be investors in the media sector of developing countries’ where the role of the local media plays a critical part in driving political change.
Winners of the awards included Makutano Junction Project, a Kenyan soap opera which attracts over 7 million viewers and acts as a means to disseminate valuable information to the public. The project, which won the award for New Media, is now also being used to promote global learning and awareness of everyday African life in schools around the UK. In accepting the award Kate Lloyd Morgan, UK Director of Mediate, which runs the project, emphasized the benefits of using a good media product to challenge perceptions here in the UK.
Sponsored by the Institute for Development Studies, the much coveted Special Award is presented to an outstanding media project or organization working on the ground in the developing world, which has made a real impact on the lives of those living or working near it. This year it was awarded to Samajhdari (Nepal), a 30-minute Nepalese radio show broadcasting to up to 1 million listeners a week. Focusing primarily on issues affecting women, every episode is centred around a real dilemma that a listener has faced and features views on the issue from a range of voices including experts in the field and fellow listeners. Twelve community reporters are deployed into the rural areas to speak to women and record their personal dilemmas, which are then used for broadcasts, and listening groups enable the programme to reach a wider audience and encourage discussion between listeners.
Through this pioneering approach, Samajhdari (meaning ‘mutual understanding’) has succeeded in its mission to affect real change in the social landscape of Nepal. In accepting the award, Program Coordinator Jaya Luintel emphasized how it has illustrated the changes that can be created when we use radio for two-way communication, instead of just broadcasting.
In summing up, Jon Snow reiterated the need to invest in the local media in these regions so that innovative media initiatives and coverage like those receiving awards can continue to contribute to positive social and political change worldwide.
May Atkinson is APT’s Marketing Officer
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