Media awards – “Stop being careless about caregivers….”
“It is a great honour. The discussion gave me new perspective on under-reported aspects of conditions of work and risks to medical personnel and health workers in areas affected by conflict and the effect of this on communities”, said a visibly excited Anumeha Yadav, The Hindu’s Jharkhand correspondent, just after winning the PII-ICRC Awards 2013 in New Delhi.
Her news report on the threat to medical doctors who had to deal with a corpse containing an improvised explosive device (IED) after an encounter in a Jharkhand village in January 2013 won her the award.`
At the press awards ceremony organised by ICRC and Press Institute of India in New Delhi, Mini Thomas of The Week and Imran Muzaffar of The Rising Kashmir were jointly awarded the second prize. The winners were chosen from amongst the 40 entries received. While Mini Thomas got the award for her story on harassment that female health care workers face in hospitals, Imran Muzaffar earned appreciation for his story in the Greater Kashmir where he wrote on ambulance drivers risking their own lives to save those of the patients.
Addressing the media persons at the inaugural of the press awards ceremony, Mary Werntz, Head of the ICRC in New Delhi said, “Today as we recognise the contributions of media personnel, we also reiterate the critical role that you, as journalists, can play by using the power of your pen. We rely on you to remind all of us of the gravity of the suffering of those denied services.”
For Imran Muzaffar, the young journalist from Kashmir, the recognition reflected a sense of achievement. On receiving the prize he said, “This award means a lot to me, to my sense of being a journalist and to my family. This award is a hope to get going, doing journalism, in the real sense.”
The function was preceded by a panel discussion on the theme of the awards for this year - “Violence against HealthCare Services and Personnel: Operating in The Face of Danger” - moderated by P. N. Vasanti, Director of the Centre for Media Studies. The panellists who were also the jury members included Pamela Philipose, Director and Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Features Service; Dr Jaya Shreedhar, Founding Member of the Centre for Security Analysis, and A.J. Philip, a senior journalist.
The panel discussion greatly engaged the diverse audience, which included diplomats, academics, aid workers, journalists and students on different healthcare challenges in areas of conflict. The emphasis of the discussion was on how violence against health personnel and services also adversely affects global public health programmes.
The discussion concluded with an emphasis on a clear need to build a community of concern to mobilise visibility and support for medical personnel who risk their lives to save others. The closing remarks by Dr Shreedhar clearly reverberated as a cautionary note when she said, “We have to stop being careless about caregivers...”
Into its sixth year now, the PII and the ICRC have been collaborating to recognise the great work done by Indian journalists to bring to light, through their stories, the human suffering and extraordinary resilience of people in the face of the tragic consequences of armed violence worldwide.