01 May 2016
HT's Manoj Sharma and Business Today's Sarika Malhotra share Rs 10 lakh cash prize

Dubai - Two journalists have shared the inaugural Aster Media Awards India for their news reports that have had a significant impact in shaping public awareness and driving action on socially relevant issues.

Manoj Sharma, Assistant Editor, Hindustan times (HT); and Sarika Malhotra, Senior Assistant Editor, Business today, are joint winners of the Rs 10 lakh cash award, one of the biggest prizes in Indian journalism, instituted by healthcare charity DM Foundation.

Mr Aasheesh Sharma and Mr Asad Ali came in for a Special Mention for excellence in journalism and quality of reporting for a news story published in the HT Brunch magazine.

The Foundation, a charitable project of healthcare entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Azad Moopen, the founder Chairman and Managing Director of the Dubai-based Aster DM Healthcare, works with people from poor and deprived backgrounds globally; and has decided to annually honour media persons in India and the Gulf nations whose works have made visible positive impact on communities.

The winners this year were chosen by a jury chaired by Diplomat and Scholar Mr. Venu Rajamony, Press Secretary to the Hon'ble President of India.

Mr Manoj Sharma won the award for his news story on resilience and hope among street children that "showcases how capacity building among the youth can have a long-term impact".

Ms Sarika Malhotra's well-researched report on child labour in India was judged as "likely to have a long term impact in terms of public awareness".

Mr Aasheesh Sharma, Associate Editor at the Hindustan Times, and Mr Asad Ali, who currently works for Catch News, were appreciated for their news report on two women shooters from UP, that "straddles two key areas of education and women's empowerment" and was noted by the panel as having the "potential to be made into a documentary".

The awards will be presented at a ceremony in New Delhi later this year.

The Aster Media Awards also recognise excellence in journalism in two other categories: International reporting, specifically in GCC countries, and Regional reporting in Kerala. Winners in these two categories, that offer cash awards of UAE Dirham (AED) 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh respectively, will be announced soon.

Dr Azad Moopen said he hoped that the awards will encourage more journalists to put the spotlight on development, growth and sustenance of communities. "We hope by instituting the Aster Media Awards more journalists will take up areas of reporting which can produce social impact and highlight issues to provide actionable information that will help bring about socio-economic transformation."

Chairman of the jury Mr. Venu Rajamony said, "The quality reporting and the style of writing we have seen in the National-India category has been outstanding - a fact demonstrated by the joint-winners and the special mention in the category. While both the winning stories deal with youth, they belong to the opposite end of the spectrum. While Ms. Malhotra's story raised awareness about child labour, Mr. Sharma's story about the empowerment of school children inspires us all. It is encouraging to see such critical issues being raised by the mainstream media."

The award jury also included Ms. Shahnaz Pakravan, Founder - SP Productions, Dubai, former journalist with the BBC World and Britain's Channel Four; Mr. Rajrishi Singhal, Senior Fellow - Geo-economics Studies, Gateway House: Indian Council on Global Relations; and Mr. Rahul Sharma, President - Rediffusion Communications, former journalist and public affairs expert.


Profiles and photographs of the award-winning journalists are attached.

About DM Foundation
DM Foundation is the broad umbrella under which the CSR and social activities of Aster DM Healthcare and Dr. Moopen's Family Foundation are being carried out. DM Foundation works in tandem with associate organizations such as MIMS Charitable. The activities of Dr. Moopen's Foundation are targeted in India, Middle East, Africa, Philippines, Afghanistan etc. Various programmes of the Foundations are categorized under Free Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Programme (Save The Little Heart), Early Diseases Detection & Cancer Screening Centres (EDDCs), Community Dialysis Centres (CDCs), Radiation Oncology Centres, Doctor on Calls "Mobile Clinics", Health & Safety Awareness Programme, Free or Subsidized Treatments, MILES Village Adoption - Socio Economic Intervention etc.

About Aster DM Healthcare
Established in 1987, Aster DM Healthcare currently owns and operates a network of more than 290 institutions across the Middle East and India, covering an array of healthcare verticals including clinics, hospitals, pharmacies, and a modern medical city. These network units are consolidated under the brand names ASTER, MEDCARE, ACCESS, ASTER Medcity and ASTER MIMS. The health facilities include 14 hospitals that offer primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary care in order to meet the requirements of people from a cross section of the society.

© Press Release 2016