The award presented at the just concluded second phase of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunisia, also witnessed two other journalists from Asia and Africa grabbing this year’s media award at different categories.
The awards aimed at encouraging and bringing international recognition to thoughtful and incisive reporting on developing countries’ progress to becoming ‘Information Societies’ is now in its third year.
It also tends to reflect the importance of increasing media coverage by encouraging debate around their social and political implications, with this year’s theme ‘Funding the digital divide: Where is the money coming from?’
Selected by international jury, the winners’ work went beyond simple description of projects or new investment initiatives to analysing broader questions such as the social impact of information and communications technologies (ICTs).
Winning entries were said to have focused particularly on rural or disadvantaged groups, and on national and global communication policy issues.
The award which attracted thousands of submissions from around the world was open to journalists who are citizens of or living in developing countries as defined by the United Nations.
Programme officer at Panos, Mr. Murali Shanmugavelan said the 2005 Panos/GKP awardees included Vipin V Nair from India, whose piece investigated a project in Kerala that aims to give basic computer training to one person from each family; Kenya’s Fred Mudhai who wrote about the importance of African lobbying for ICT projects; and Nigeria’s Oruame who looked at funding the digital divide in
Africa with his web-published entry “A bridge too far.”
The award accords Mr. Oruame to become a GKP fellow, which has four categories namely Gender & ICT Awards 2005, Media Awards 2005, Youth & ICT Awards 2005 and Local Content Awards 2005.
The 2005 awards ceremony was a key highlight of a series of activities and events organised by the GKP parallel to the WSIS-05, which witnessed over 56 head of governments and 145 countries in attendance.
The collaborative awards programme of GKP provides international recognition to successful and innovative ICT4D initiatives from around the world while spurring the champions of the initiatives to continue to strive for excellence on the ground in using ICT to address community needs in a locally relevant way.
Executive Director of GKP Ms. Rinalia Abdul Rahim said that the programme also serves as a mechanism for gathering success stories from around the world on ICT4D initiatives, as GKP recognises that there are substantial benefits to be gained from sharing the lessons learned from the stories.
“The stories gathered via the awards programme are snapshots of the learning process that accompanies the introduction and implementation of ICT in a community development project. The GKP is also developing a database of ICT4D funding opportunities, training opportunities, and is also working on building the capacity of project champions through peer knowledge-exchange, and skills training workshops,” she said.
Mr. Shanmugavelan also noted that in defining the selection criteria, “Panos was particularly looking for journalism that builds understanding of the importance of communication for development; and that stimulates awareness of the impact of national and global communication policies on development.”
Other category winners included Ms. Audrey Codera from Philippines, for her “Community-based youth entrepreneurship programme”; South African Jean-Paul Bauer for his “Operation Fikelela (Operation Access) – fighting poverty through access to ICT education”; Kenyan Mark Okowa for his “Development ofan ICT centre for the youth, to build their capacity in information technology, fight HIV/AIDS and poverty”; as well as Malaysian Raj Ridvan Singh for “Providing education and life skills to poor school dropouts especially girls from rural areas”; Salah Uddin Ahmed from Bangladesh whose “Xayan IT” is enabling ICT skill development and employment creation for youth in Bangladesh”; and Wu Yang, China, for his “Household wastewater recycling management” initiative.