2014 UNICEF BEST CHILD RIGHTS REPORTING AWARD
Nation Group media grab four Unicef awards for their reportage on children's issues
KOM CHAD LUEK yesterday won the 2014 Unicef Best Child Rights Reporting Award for its article on Thai children consuming snacks laced with preservatives and dangerous chemicals. Two other media outlets under Nation Multimedia Group (NMG) also came away with three prizes.
The awards, hosted by the United Nations Children's Fund, and Thai Journalists' Association, were awarded yesterday by former prime minister Anand Panyarachun at Bangkok's Century Park Hotel.
Two articles published in Krungthep Turakij's "Judprakai" section - on the effect reading has on education and peace in the restive South and on violence in school against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) children - along with a Nation TV report on protecting children from drowning won honorary mention.
Kom Chad Luek's award comprised of a plaque of honour and Bt50,000, Krunthep Turakij won Bt20,000 per article, while Nation TV came away with a cheque for Bt5,000.
The first prize in the televised and online media category of Bt30,000 went to the Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS) for its documentary on children facing the risk of chronic illness. The runners-up, who won Bt15,000 each, were Thai News Agency, for its story on surrogate pregnancy services, and Thai PBS for a report on student activists entitled "Kao Raek Naksuksa-Prachahon".
Khon Kaen University's Dao Din student group shared this award with Thai PBS. The student group is known for its social activities, including helping villagers protesting against a gold mine in Loei province, and surprising Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha with "Hunger Games"-inspired anti-coup gestures during his first visit to the Northeast.
Besides Nation TV, other honorary mentions went to Thai Rath TV for its story on surrogate pregnancy and Thai PBS for its report on stateless children struggling to get Thai nationality.
A citizen journalists' award worth Bt2,000 went to Silpakorn University student Yaowanat Jiandamrongrassamee's story on Non-Formal Education Centre: Ban Huai Pan Community School.
The Unicef Child Rights Reporting Award, created by the Isra Institute and Unicef, is handed out every year to media organisations for best reports related to children's rights. Newsletters published in schools and universities are also considered. Isra Institute director Prasong Lertrattawisut said the competition has been running for nine years now, and this year has seen many submissions.
Commenting on the eight-part news series report on chemical-laced snacks broadcast on Kom Chad Luek, special editor Punnee Amornviputpanich said children's issues in Thailand were not limited to abuse but also to daily problems like toxic snacks - an industry that earns up to Bt100 billion a year.
"It's surprising such illegal snacks can still be sold openly. Children are
fighting over them and adults know that these colourful snacks do not come with a list of ingredients on the label. Yet nobody cares. Shops in schools and villages sell them, especially preservatives-loaded bakery goods that could be on the shelf for two to three months without developing mould. Are we going to let toxic snack merchants get rich like this? This issue should not be left to the government alone to solve, everybody in Thai society should help," she said.
Punnee went on to say that the Bt50,000 would be given to the Nation CSR team to produce T-shirts to help raise funds for Unicef's work with Ebola-affected children in West Africa.
In relation to violence against LGBT students, Nipaporn Thabhoon said Thai society should ensure that there is no discrimination against anybody and schools take special care of LGBT children, especially as this is a new issue and few people pay attention to their plight.
Chainarong Kittinartintranee said his winning article on the power of reading in the deep South was inspired by his desire to see the youth absorb good culture and knowledge through books translated into the Malay language. He also called on Thai society to place special emphasis on the importance of reading to promote good attitude and better viewpoints among the youth.
On Nation TV's winning report on drowning, reporter Thananut Sanguansak said upon learning that as many as 10,000 children had drowned in the past decade, she was prompted to look for ways to prevent such accidents and study the issue from different contexts, including schools, community and environment.
She said she was proud of being honoured for doing her job as a journalist, and hoped this report would help bring about changes.