Anup Sharma
Anup Sharma (third from right) at the award presentation ceremony in New Delhi. Image credit - Northeast Now

Northeast India based journalist Anup Sharma received the prestigious PII-ICRC Annual Awards, 2019 at a glittering function in the India International Centre at New Delhi recently.

Anup Sharma, the Chief of Bureau of Northeast Now, was selected for Best Article and Best Photograph on a humanitarian subject.

The award is jointly given by the Press Institute of India (PII) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) New Delhi Regional Delegation.

Also read: Northeast Now journo wins PII-ICRC award

Sharma was selected for the third prize for his article “Living like Nomads” in The Pioneer – a story that looked at how climate change-induced erosion affected people’s livelihood and highlighted a tale of livelihood crisis and migration.

The theme of the annual awards this year was ‘Impact of Climate Change on Humanitarian Issues’.

Urvashi Sarkar, an independent journalist, won the first prize in the Best Article category for her piece, ‘Our houses are vanishing. Nobody cares’, which appeared on the PARI (People’s Archive of Rural India) website.

Disha Shetty, independent journalist, writing for IndiaSpend, bagged the second prize for her article, ‘Bengali-speaking students in Kannada-medium Bengaluru school reveal journey of climate change refugees from disappearing islands’.

A view of the award presentation ceremony in New Delhi. Image credit – Northeast Now
A view of the award presentation ceremony in New Delhi. Image credit – Northeast Now

In the Best Photograph category, the first prize was shared by G. Sivaprasad, news photographer, The Mathrubhumi, for his picture ‘Close to the heart’ and Rijo Joseph, chief photographer, Malayala Manorama, for his picture, ‘Running for life’.

The second prize was won by Rinku Raj, senior photographer, Malayala Manorama, for his photo, ‘Rough sea, tough life’.

The third prize went to Bibin Xavier, photojournalist, Deepika Daily, for his picture, ‘It was life’.

Special awards were presented in the Best Article category to Jency Samuel, independent journalist from Chennai for her article, ‘Unpredictable seas push fishers away from home’ and to Nikhil Ghanekar, independent journalist based in Delhi, for his piece, ‘When the hills go thirsty’.

In the Best Photograph category, Prashant K., senior photographer, Lokmat, Pune, won the special mention for his picture, ‘Mining the aquifer’.

Speaking on the occasion, chief guest Ramon Magsaysay Award winner Sonam Wangchuk, founder, Himalayan Institute of Alternatives Ladakh, and co-founder SECMOL, said: “We hear about wars among countries, but the impact of the war on nature is much worse. Today, a lot more people are dying in calamities that occur due to the changing environment.”

He added, “Some of the solutions, including the ice stupa, are small efforts that are helping us survive. These can work for a few more years but the real solutions lie in the big cities.”

Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, he said: “Live simply so that others may simply live.”

Underscoring the humanitarian consequences of climate change, Yves Heller, deputy head of the ICRC Regional Delegation said, “Climate Change worsens vulnerabilities, poverty and inequalities, especially in situations of armed conflict, where countries, communities and populations are the least able to protect themselves and adapt to an ever-changing environment.”

Sashi Nair, director-editor, Press Institute of India, Chennai, stressed the need for editors and journalists to play a catalyst’s role in highlighting issues on a regular basis, and get action taken on avoiding a climate emergency and securing a safe future for the generations to come.

This year saw many interesting entries from national and regional publications covering the wide-ranging impact of environmental degradation and destruction of ecosystems.

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