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Population Institute Announces the Winners of the 2015 Global Media Awards

December 10, 2015

The Population Institute is very pleased to announce the winners of the 36th Annual Global Media Awards. The Global Media Awards were created to recognize and celebrate authors, reporters, film makers, cartoonists, radio hosts, and others for their coverage of issues relating to population, family planning, reproductive health, and gender inequality. This year’s winners covered a wide range of issues, including child marriage practices in Yemen, an Iranian ban on certain forms of contraception, cultural and religious barriers to contraceptive use in Pakistan, and political attacks on a highly successful teen pregnancy prevention program in Colorado. We are proud to recognize the following people for what they have accomplished in raising public awareness about population and reproductive health and rights.

Zoe Schlanger and Elijah Wolfson will be awarded Best Article for a Newsweek series called “Silver Bullets,” which proposed seven big solutions for seven of the world’s most complex problems. Schlanger and Wolfson’s piece was entitled “How to Defuse the Population Bomb”. Their article examines the challenges posed by  rapid population growth, including poverty, hunger, and climate change, and describes how universal access to family planning would help to address those challenges.

The award for Best Book will be given to Katha Pollitt for her book “Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights”. “Pro” takes a cold hard look at the negative connotations of abortion in the United States, and focuses on the health and social benefits of preserving reproductive rights. Pollitt explains that abortion is a standard medical option, the preservation of which is beneficial to society at large, not just women. In addressing abortion critics, Pollitt sheds an important new perspective on how we should think about abortion rights in the United States.

The Population Media Center’s Agashi is the winner of this year’s Best Radio Show. Agashi is a Burundi radio serial drama that discusses issues such as family planning, nutrition, adolescent sexual and reproductive health, child protection, gender-based violence, and gender equity. Production and airing of the drama has continued despite the recent outbreak of violence in Burundi. The highly popular program has taken the country by storm, reaching an estimated 4.5 million Burundians.

The award for Best Film will be given to “I am Nojoom, Age 10 and Divorced,” which was directed by Khadija Al Salami.  Based on a true story, the film documents the life of Nojoom, who after being married at age 10 is subjected to harsh labor and daily rape. Nojoom pleads with the courts for a divorce from her 30-year-old husband, making local and international news, and raising awareness about the dangers of child marriage.

The award for the Best TV Show goes to The Rachel Maddow Show for a series of reports addressing issues relating to reproductive health and rights, including a special segment looking at how a Colorado state initiative promoting the use of IUDs contributed to a dramatic reduction in the state’s teen pregnancy rate. The show also debunked political claims that the IUD operates as “an ongoing abortion.”   

Pakistan’s Haroon Mustafa Janjua will be awarded Best Opinion Piece for his article “Population Explosion”. His article looks at how gender inequality contributes to Pakistan’s high fertility rate and the perpetuation of poverty.  In examining the large unmet need for family planning in Pakistan, Janjua explains how cultural and religious norms prevent many women from using a modern method of contraception.  He proposes a more comprehensive approach to family planning, one that would address the cultural and informational barriers in addition to making family planning services more widely available.

Iranian artist, Atena Farghadani is the winner of this year’s Best Editorial Cartoon. Farghadani drew a cartoon depicting parliamentary leaders as animals after the Iranian legislature voted to ban vasectomies and other forms of contraception. The cartoon, unfortunately, landed Farghadani in prison, where she was sentenced to 12 years for spreading propaganda. Since being sentenced, Farghadani has been outspoken about the injustices of the Iranian prison system and the need for better treatment of women throughout the country.

EngenderHealth’s Where’s The Family Planning?! Campaign will be recognized as this year’s Best Social Media Campaign. WTFP?! uses a relatable tone and pop culture references to encourage young women in the United States to show their support for improving access to contraception in developing countries. The campaign is fun and hip, while covering serious and important issues pertaining to reproductive health and rights.

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