KARACHI: The first Women in Media Awards ceremony took place at the Beach Luxury Hotel on Wednesday and celebrated the works of female Pakistani journalists.
The journalists won awards in the print, television, radio and online categories. Each of the women spoke on what their story was and how they went about covering it.
For the winner of the online journalism award, Sadia Haider, the award was validation for the work she had put in the last few years. After accepting her award Haider explained that her husband, who worked for the News Agency Reuters, was killed in Afghanistan. Since then she has been exploring the concept of violence in society, especially towards women, through different reporting mediums. “I am glad I’m standing here as a journalist for my work and not just a camera person or photographer” said Haider.
Similar to Haider, the rest of the recipients of the media awards were thankful for being recognised.
Many spoke about what story they had won their awards for and why they chose to produce them in a certain way.
The Runner-up for the radio prize, Shamim Anjum of PBC-Islamabad, did a radio feature on Malala Yousafzai. A five minute report, Anjum made a young girl read a script in first person of Malala’s life story. For the bridge, however, Anjum used a male voice. The reason for this, she said, was because “it is men who are stopping girls from going to school, it is men who are blowing up schools.” I wanted to use a male voice so that it would reach fathers, fathers who need to educate their daughters, concluded Anjum.
The first prize in the radio category was won by Arifa Habib from PBC Bhawalpur for her radio talk show on the Pakistani media and the portrayal of women.
A lifetime achievement was presented to journalist Zubaida Mustafa, who reminded the audience to not forget the importance of the pioneer female journalists in the country. “The contribution of these female journalists should be remembered,” said Mustafa. She went on to advise the younger women present in the room to never underestimate anyone, explaining that even today when she meets someone she always learns something from them. “You should keep this in mind, especially if you are a journalist,” she said. Wrapping up her speech, Mustafa emphasised that when women participate in the professional world you can’t isolate them from larger society.
The rest of the award winners were:
Print first prize, Razeshta Sethna from the Herald for her feature on laws aimed to prtotect women titled ‘Signed, sealed, delivered’. The runner-up was Imrana Komal from the Roznama Express for her reporting on acid throwing crimes.
For Television the first prize was bagged by Shamim Ara Marwat from Khyber News on her story of female refugees from the Orakzai agency. While accepting her award, Marwat said this was a story that was thoroughly underreported and the women she met were some of the most positive personalities she had encountered.
The runner-up for the television prize was Maimona Saeed, a reporter for Geo News in Multan, for her story on female cotton pickers.
The awards were a collaborative effort of the media research centre Uks and APNS. – Text by Sara Faruqi, photos by Alisia Pek