Winners of the 16th 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 for this year’s edition was ‘Stories of Resilience in Humanitarian Disasters: Responses and Challenges’.

In the Best Article category, the first prize was awarded to Vaishnavi Rathore, reporter, for her article, ‘From Odisha to Kerala, a bus of climate migrants’, for Scroll.

The second prize was won by Ritwika Mitra, independent journalist, for her article, ‘Storm cycle effect – on child trafficking’, for Storm Cycle/Fiftytwo.

The third prize went to Sonal Matharu, journalist, for her article, ‘Kuki survivors recount Manipur mob horror’, for the Print.

In addition to covering under-reported stories, journalists and photographers often put themselves at risk to reach out to communities that need to be heard. Thus, this year’s jury recognized their valuable contributions by awarding Special Mention awards to three journalists/photographers.

The two journalists in the Special Mention category for Best Article were Ismat Ara, reporter, The Frontline, and Cissy Jacob, senior sub-editor, Mathrubhumi.

In the Best Photograph category, S. L. Shanth Kumar, chief photojournalist, The Times of India, won the first prize for his picture portraying ‘Coastal erosion in Kerala’.

Jinse Michael, photographer, Malayala Manorama, won the second prize for his picture, ‘The devastating traces of Kerala floods…’

Cash prizes were awarded to the first, second, and third-place winners. Certificates and trophies were presented to the special awardees.

Special guest at the event, Rajendra Ratnoo, IAS, Executive Director, National Institute of Disaster Management (NIDM), graced the occasion and encouraged the journalists with his inspiring words and congratulated the winners on bringing their humanitarian stories to the forefront.

N K Singh, Deputy Secretary at Indian Red Cross Society, felicitated the prize winners and said, “Credibility of Red Cross has been sustained due to the supreme sacrifices of Red Crosses during last over 160 years.”

Speaking on occasion, Kedir Awol Omar, Head of the Regional Delegation for India, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives, thanked the journalists for their unwavering commitment for putting the spotlight on humanity’s challenges and said, “We wholeheartedly appreciate that journalists and photographers have gone the extra mile to cover under-reported stories and often put themselves at risk to reach out to the communities that need to be heard. These awards are a small token of appreciation for their dedication to keeping people and needs at the centre of their work.”

“These awards recognize the hard and often thankless work put in by journalists and photographers to bring to the fore stories that need to be told, and the passion and dedication they bring to their work. It is also our small initiative to encourage and motivate them to sustain the high standards journalists are expected to meet,” said Sashi Nair, Director, Press Institute of India, Chennai.

The award ceremony was succeeded by an engaging discussion that dwelt on the theme for this year’s awards: ‘Stories of Resilience in Humanitarian Disasters: Responses and Challenges’. The panel comprised Dinesh C. Sharma, senior journalist and author; Gayatri Ramanathan, journalist and communications professional; Urvashi Sarkar, journalist and author; Surinder Oberoi, senior journalist; Divya Pushkarna, disinformation advisor, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Marie-Servane Desjonqueres, senior communications adviser, ICRC. Sashi Nair moderated the discussion.

PII and ICRC awards recognize and promote outstanding humanitarian reporting by journalists.

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Watch full coverage of the award ceremony: