Winners of UNICEF Meena Media Awards shine a light on child rights in Bangladesh

20 December 2021
A girl and a boy talking
ইউনিসেফ মীনা মিডিয়া অ্যাওয়ার্ডস আজ, ২০২১ সালে বাংলাদেশে শিশু অধিকার নিয়ে প্রতিবেদন করায় সাংবাদিকদের সম্মানিত করেছে। অনুষ্ঠানে শিশু সাংবাদিকদের প্রতিবেদনকেও পুরস্কৃত করা হয়।

DHAKA, 20 December 2021 – The UNICEF Meena Media Awards today honoured journalists for their reporting on child rights in Bangladesh in 2021. The event also awarded reporting by child journalists. Launched by UNICEF in 2005, the Meena Media Awards recognizes excellence in journalistic reporting that promotes the cause of children.

“The media plays a vital role in drawing public attention to critical issues, and in holding decision-makers accountable for improving children’s lives. The UNICEF Meena Media Awards also recognize reporting by child journalists, reminding us how important it is to give children space to speak up directly on issues that matter to them,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative to Bangladesh.

The event also celebrated UNICEF’s 75th anniversary and the progress achieved for the world’s children, while highlighting the work that remains to be done. The pandemic has disproportionately affected children in Bangladesh. They have missed out on learning because of school closures, and been put at greater risk of child marriage, child labour and violence. At the same time, climate change continues to cast a shadow over their future.

But these challenges can be overcome by working together to drive action for a better tomorrow. Partnerships with the Government and other stakeholders – including the media – are critical to placing children at the centre as Bangladesh moves forward.

The stories told by this year’s Meena Media Award winners are of children orphaned by COVID-19, children living with the impacts of climate change, and children missing out on their education. But there are also tales of the unstoppable resilience and courage of children trapped by poverty, child labour and child marriage. This is true both for Bangladeshi children and for Rohingya refugee children.   

A panel of independent judges, including veterans from the media and academics, selected the winners from nearly 700 submissions. 

“I congratulate the winners as well as the participants of the Meena Media Awards. There were powerful stories this year, and in coming days we hope to see even more child-sensitive, ethical reporting,” said Robaet Ferdous, Professor, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, University of Dhaka, who is one of the judges this year.

The awards featured popular Bangladeshi singer Porshi, who performed her tribute to the theme song from the Meena animated series, created by UNICEF. Meena, a beloved character across South Asia, has been speaking up for the rights of children and reminding adults of their responsibilities in Bangladesh and beyond since 1993.

Watch the award ceremony here

Winners of the Meena Media Awards 2021:

For “journalistic reporting that promotes child rights” in text

1st prize: Kohinur Khyum, Dhaka Tribune, for ‘Rapes in madrasas: Breaking the silence’

2nd prize: Md. Khairul Bashar Ashik, NTV, for ‘Born on boats, raised on boats’

3rd prize: Md. Boni Amin,, for ‘Rape at trafficking points; children being sold as well’, and Ummay Marzan Jui, The Business Standard, for ‘How climate change is undermining education in coastal areas of Bangladesh’

For “journalistic reporting that promotes child rights” in photography

1st prize: Emran Hossain, Daily Odhikar, on the issue of child labour during COVID-19

2nd prize: Dipu Malakar, Prothom Alo, on the issue of poverty

3rd prize: Md. Sazid Hossain, Prothom Alo, on the issue of poverty

Special mention: Prabir Das, The Daily Star, on the issue of violence against children

For “journalistic reporting that promotes child rights” in video

1st prize: Nadia Sharmeen, Ekattor TV, for ‘Rape of boys in Bangladesh’

2nd prize: Marzia Hashmi Momo, Somoy TV, for ‘Child labour: 1.7 million children drop out of education’

3rd prize: Ismail Hossain Jewel, GTV, for ‘Impact of e-waste on children’s health’

Special Meena Media Awards for text-based “journalistic reporting that promotes child rights” in the areas of:

Impact of COVID-19 on children

Md. Samsur Rahman, Prothom Alo, for ‘3,500 children orphaned in the country due to COVID-19’

Public investment for children

Nilima Jahan, The Daily Star, for ‘Ending Hazardous Child Labour: Tk 284cr project in a shambles’

Rohingya refugee children

Adnan Rahman, Dhaka Post, for ‘A childhood spent in fear and insecurity’

Ending child marriage

Jasim Uddin, Dhaka Post, for ‘Legal loophole and pretext of insecurity leading to rise in child marriages’

Climate change and children

Md. Shahedul Islam, Bangla Tribune, for ‘DSCC climate change shelters for displaced persons being used as councillor’s office’

Winners of the Children’s Meena Media Awards 2021:

Children’s Meena Media Awards (under 18) for “journalistic reporting that promotes child rights” in text

1st prize: Rafsan Nijhum,, for ‘Let us identify as “humans” in a world free of racism’

2nd prize: Md. Sazzadur Rahman, Prothom Alo, for ‘“As if schools are for us” say disadvantaged children’

3rd prize: Pial Saha, Ajker Gopalganj, for ‘When will we have a Meena in our country?’

Children’s Meena Media Awards (under 18) for “journalistic reporting that promotes child rights” in video

1st Prize: Afrin Akter, ATN Bangla, for ‘Our supply of oxygen is decreasing’

2nd Prize: Fahmida Faiza Sorgo, ATN Bangla, for ‘Children affected by COVID-19’

3rd Prize: Tahmina Flora, ATN Bangla, for ‘Children’s creative pursuits during the pandemic’

Meena Media Awards 2021 judges

ABM Rafiqur Rahman, Video journalist, Reuters TV

Abu Naser Siddique, Award-winning photographer

Gitiara Nasreen, Professor, Mass Communication and Journalism Department, University of Dhaka

Jannatul Mawa, Activist and award-winning photographer

Mobasshira Farzana Mithila, Veteran broadcast journalist

Robaet Ferdous, Professor, Mass Communication and Journalism Department, University of Dhaka

Ruma Paul, Chief Correspondent, Reuters, Bangladesh

Selina Hossain, Award-winning novelist

Shahnoor Wahid, Veteran journalist and teacher


Notes to Editors

Download more photos here

Media contacts

Faria Selim
UNICEF Bangladesh
Tel: +8801817586096


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