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CMS PSA Young Environmental Journalist Awards Announced

Two young journalists – Juhi Chaudhary (CNN-IBN) and Chandan Haygunde (Indian Express, Pune), have been announced the winners of 2014 CMS PSA Young Environmental Journalist Awards.

Initiated in the year 2007 by CMS Environment, the awards are for excellence in environmental journalism. It is presented to an individual who has done exemplary investigative and inspired reporting on environmental issues in the country. These biennial awards are a countrywide recognition of two journalists (21-35 years of age) who have made a significant contribution in either the print or electronic media to an understanding of the nation’s environmental problems.

The winners of the previous awards include Bahar Dutt (CNN-IBN) and Amarjyoti Borah (Freelancer) in 2007; Aarti Dhar (The Hindu) and Pierre Fitter (NEWSX) in 2009; Soma Basu (The Statesman, Kolkata) and Manu C Kumar (Manorama News, Mumbai) in 2011.

Forum of Environmental Journalists of India (FEJI), TVE Asia Pacific and PANOS South Asia (PSA) has been the supporting partners for these honours over the years.

This year the CMS PSA Award for television goes to Juhi Chaudhary who has worked as Senior Correspondent with CNN-IBN for five years. She is among the few Indian journalists to have reported exclusively on environment and wildlife issues for national television. She started her career in media with an investigation on illegal wildlife trade called ‘Blood on the Brush’ which led to the arrest of two dealers selling paint brushes made of banned mongoose hair. In 2009, she exposed on camera how illegal mining was rampant in Aravalis (Based on the investigation, CEC ordered Haryana govt. to conduct an inquiry). And more recently she uncovered how a top hospital in Delhi was dumping dangerous bio-medical waste in gross violation of the rules following which both the NHRC and DPCC sent notices to the hospital. Juhi has covered a range of environment stories for CNN-IBN with prime focus on wildlife conservation, development projects vs. environment, protection of Aravallis, environment policies and climate change. She has also worked as a producer for a number of environment shows.

This CMS PSA Award for print goes to Chandan Haygunde who is Principle Correspondent of Indian Express in Pune. Chandan has been reporting from ground zero about the illegal activities and problems in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve (STR). It involved extensive travelling, actually visiting the problem areas and proper investigation by taking photographs, collecting documental evidence, meeting forest officials and government authorities, villagers, environmentalists and also those involved in the wrongdoings in STR. He investigated how two government approved bauxite mines were flouting Supreme Court orders by their illegal activities in STR. He exposed an illegal construction in the Koyna Wild Life Sanctuary by a businessman and seven illegal roads in STR made under the government’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). Chandan has also reported on illegal liquor parties, wind mills in STR and how lack of staff and equipments hampered tiger count,
CMS PSA Awards is an effort to encourage and improve environment journalism. PANOS also has a South Asia Climate Change Award (SACCA) Fellows Programme to improve media coverage and public debate around climate and development in South Asia. Twenty four journalists from six South Asian countries: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, have been selected to participate in the SACCA Fellows’ Programme in 2012-13.

Each year, the results of the Fellows’ efforts are evaluated independently and awards the prestigious Media Excellence Award. This year the winners are two journalists from India and Sri Lanka :

Subhra Priyadarshini (India) is an award winning science journalist and currently Editor of Nature India, the Nature Publishing Group’s (NPG) India operation. Subhra has been a correspondent with major Indian dailies The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Asian Age, The Telegraph, news agency Press Trust of India (PTI) and environment fortnightly Down To Earth. She worked briefly for the Observer, London. She is a regular contributor to BBC Radio’s Hindi science programme ‘Vigyan aur Vikas’ (Science and Development) and taught science communication at University of Calcutta.

Amantha Perera (Sri Lanka) is a writer and a multi-media journalist based in Colombo, Sri Lanka. His work regularly appears in TIME, Reuters/AlertNet, Inter Press News Service – IPS, and Integrated Regional Information Network – IRIN. He concentrates on coverage on Sri Lanka’s post-conflict situation, humanitarian aid, human rights, climate change and impact on the region and adaptation measures.

Bothe CMS PSA Awards and the SACCA Media Excellence Award winners will be given on Jan 30, 2014 (6.30 – 8.30 pm)at the gala inaugural ceremony of CMS VATAVARAN – Asia’s largest film festival and forum on environment and wildlife. The 2014 CMS VATAVARAN is 5 day biodiversity gala and will feature film screenings, forums, exhibitions, musical festival, food festival, green bazaar and many more at the IGNCA Lawns (near India Gate and Central Secretariat Metro Station), New Delhi from January 30- February 3, 2014.

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