Ramnath Goenka Awards Excellence in HIV/AIDS Reporting

The then President of India, Adbul Kalam, presented 24 awards to reporters whose stories met the highest standard of journalism on July 16, 2007 in New Delhi, India. For the first time, the presentations included two awards for Excellence in HIV/AIDS Reporting.

Celebrating the Excellence in HIV/AID Reporting Award on July 16 in New Delhi, India were Rajeev Varma, HCP; Sanjanthi Velu, HCP; Ritu Shukla, Deputy Director, IEC, National AIDS Control Organization; Sadhna Mohan, English print journalist from AIDS Buzz, Shekhar Deshmukh, Marathi print journalist from Loksatta; and Jose G. Rimon, II, Project Director, HCP.

The new category recognizes the significant role media can play in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In-depth, sensitive and accurate reporting of HIV/AIDS issues, including stories about the people living with HIV and AIDS and the places where people can find assistance, can contribute substantially to meeting the needs of the communities and the country to face the HIV/AIDS challenge.

The Excellence in HIV/AIDS Reporting Awards, were created through a media advocacy initiative led by the Health Communication Partnership (HCP) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs in association with USAID and the Avert Society. Together, the groups collaborated with the Indian Express Group to institute these Awards as part of the annual prestigious Ramnath Goenka awards for Excellence in Journalism. The winners were Loksatta’s Shekhar Vasant Deshmukh (Marathi) and Sadhna Mohan (English) of AIDS Buzz.

In addition to receiving the award, the winners attended the Leadership in Strategic Communication Workshop at the Center for Communication Programs in Baltimore, Maryland, in June 2007. The annual three-week long workshop is an intensive learning opportunity in strategic communications for decision-makers, administrators, health educators, program officers, and donor agency field staff. The two award winning journalists were among 42 participants from 15 countries who attended this year.

Instituted last year, the Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism have set a high benchmark for journalism in India. As Vivek Goenka, Chairman of the Ramnath Goenka Foundation and Chairman and Managing Director of The Indian Express Group said, “There is a ceaseless deluge of information on the internet: of news, views, and more commonly, views as news. It’s here that good journalists have to step in with their compasses and their searchlights. That’s why never before has there been a more pressing need for the media to build public trust and credibility.”

The Center for Communication Program (CCP) at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is known throughout the world for its evidence-based, strategic communication programs that help education and steer communities towards healthy choices and well being. Drawing from the most innovative thinking, CCP programs use an integrated, comprehensive approach that combines mass media, community mobilization, interpersonal communication, and builds on a community’s social and civic structures to promote long-term improvements.

Health Communication Partnership (HCP): The HCP links together six leading institutions to strengthen public health in the developing world through strategic communication programs. Supported by the USAID, HCP and its in-country partners are implementing programs and providing technical assistance in about 20 countries worldwide to address the following health issues: Reproductive Health, Nutrition, HIV/AIDS, Democracy and Governance, Child Health, Safe Water, Infectious Disease, Hygiene Improvement, Maternal Health, and other emerging health issues.

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