Winners of the 15th edition of the PII-ICRC Annual Awards for Best Article and Best Photograph on a humanitarian subject, jointly organised by the Press Institute of India (PII) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), were announced on Friday. The theme of the Annual Awards this year was Superheroes: Battling at the Frontline in the Time of Crisis.

The first prize in the Best Article category was awarded to Anna Isaac, News Editor, The News Minute, for her article, ‘Who gets to live? COVID-19 is causing moral distress among India’s doctors.

The second prize was won by Shriya Mohan, Assistant Editor, The Hindu Business Line, for her article, ‘COVID-19 warriors in need of healing touch’.

The third prize went to Tabassum Barnagarwala, Health Reporter, Scroll, for her article, ‘As September COVID-19 surge sweeps rural Maharashtra, hunt for beds’.

Journalists, photographers and others in the media persons have as frontline workers brought the continuing miseries of the pandemic to the fore. The jury this year, thus, decided to recognise their valuable contribution and present Special Mention awards to seven journalists/ photographers in both categories.

The seven journalists in the Special Mention category for Best Article were Shephali Bhatt, Senior Assistant Editor, Mint; Jyoti Yadav, Senior Correspondent, The Print; and freelance journalists Rakhi Ghosh, Arvind Shukkla, Neetu Singh, Jigyasa Mishra and Farzana Nisar.

In the Best Photograph category Deepak Joshi, Photographer, The Indian Express, won the first prize for his picture capturing ‘A unique activity of a female teacher overcoming physical disability during the corona period’.

Shashank Parade, Photojournalist, Press Trust of India (PTI), won the second prize for his picture titled, ‘COVID-19 positive cases cross 500-mark in Maharashtra’, published in Deccan Herald.

Jaipal Singh, Photographer, The Indian Express, won the third prize for his picture titled, ‘Climbing trees to access homework – online education in a remote village of Haryana’.

In the Best Photograph category, winners of the seven Special Mention prizes were: C. Biju, Chief News Photographer, Mathrubhumi; E.V. Ragesh, Senior News Photographer, Mathrubhumi;  Muralikrishnan, Chief Photographer, Mathrubhumi; Abhijith Ravi, Photojournalist, Kerala Kaumudi; Salman Ali, Senior Photojournalist, HT Media; freelance photojournalist Mayank Makhija; and freelance news photographer Parul Sharma.

The first, second and third place winners received Rs 100,000, Rs 70,000 and Rs 40,000, respectively. Special awardees received a certificate and a trophy.

Speaking on occasion, chief guest Jan Miskoc, Head of Regional Delegation, ICRC New Delhi, said, “This is the second year running that pandemic continue to affect our lives. These awards hold special significance. We salute and pay our deepest regards to the hundreds of thousands of healthcare personnel, Red Cross volunteers, first responders, journalists and photographers. They continue to make extraordinary sacrifices in these unprecedented times as they step out of their homes every day to save people’s lives and bring critical relief to those affected by the COVID-19 crisis.”

“During the pandemic, journalists, photojournalists and photographers have risked their lives to bring stories and pictures to readers. And they continue to do so. These awards are a recognition of the hard work they put in, often letting passion for their craft drive them in the pursuit of truth and justice. We need to salute such remarkable efforts,” said Sashi Nair, Director, Press Institute of India, Chennai.

The award ceremony was preceded by an engaging discussion that dwelt on the theme for this year’s awards: Superheroes: Battling at the Frontline in the Time of Crisis. The panel comprised jury members Usha Rai, Mrinal Chatterjee, Desikan Krishnan and Dr Jaya Shreedhar.

The awards instituted by the PII and the ICRC are designed to promote and recognise the outstanding work of journalists in the field of humanitarian reporting.