Fifty media persons were today given the prestigious Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity (Northern and Western Region), which aims to popularise gender-sensitive reporting and advertising in the country. Launched in March 2007 in Mumbai, the focus of the awards is on mainstreaming gender into media and promoting gender sensitivity as a core value in reporting and programming. The awards were announced by Population First and United Nations Population Fund, whereas 582 and 733 entries were received from Northern and Western regions and 50 winners were selected by a panel of 30 members. The awards were given by Sindhushree Khullar, Seceretary Planning Commission. Akansha Pradeep of CNN IBN was selected for best reporting for her film 'Trauma of the two finger test', in which she had reported about the trauma that rape victims go through during the age-old test. Sana Altaf of Jammu and Kashmir got the award for best reporting from conflict area. Her stories were based on the impact of the over two decade-old conflict on women. Others awardees included Shailvee Sharda of Time of India, Shiv Balak Misra of newly launched Gaon Connection, Vinaya Deshpande-Pandit of The Hindu for best investigative reporting and Shubhangi Swarup of The Open Magazine. Addressing the gathering, A L Sharada, Director, Population First, said, "people want change, and change for the better. This is particularly true of women who want a more just, equitable and violence free society. The public outrage at the incidents of violence against women is reflective of that mood." "Media has the power to steer this outrage productively to ensure that government, judiciary and police work to ensure safety of women in society.
It is always a pleasure to recognise and applaud those media and advertising persons who are making a difference." Frederika Meijer, Country representative UNFPA said "After the last year incident (Delhi gang-rape case), the issue of women has been prominently being raised. We have to make sure that we create a conducive environment for girls so that they grow up to their full potential. "The indicators for women, especially young women, are not very good. We have look into ways how to change the situation where violence against women is not considered normal. Here Laadli awards become important. We need to report about such issues.