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Population Institute Announces the Winners of the 2016 Global Media Awards

January 09, 2017

The Population Institute is pleased to announce the winners of the 37th Annual Global Media Awards. The awards were created to recognize and celebrate authors, reporters, filmmakers, 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 abortion access in the United States, child marriage in Ethiopia, the implementation of the new reproductive health law in the Philippines, and the impact of the Helms Amendment on women in developing countries. We are proud to recognize our award winners for what they have accomplished in raising public awareness about population, the environment, and reproductive health and rights.

This year’s award for Best Article or Series of Articles goes to Laura Bassett for her Huffington Post feature story, “Instruments of Oppression,” which examines how the Helms amendment prevents women in vulnerable and crisis situations from accessing reproductive healthcare. Bassett’s article focused on Kenya, where unsafe abortion is the leading cause of maternal death. Though abortion is legal in Kenya, many women in Kenya, particularly in rural areas, are precluded from obtaining abortion services, because the Helms amendment restricts foreign aid from going to providers who perform or refer women to abortion services.

Edward O. Wilson will be given the award for Best Book for his most recent book, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life.  Dr. Wilson, a distinguished biologist who is now professor emeritus at Harvard University, is known worldwide for his efforts to preserve the Earth’s biodiversity. In his latest contribution to the global debate on the accelerating loss of biodiversity, Wilson argues that in order to prevent a mass extinction of species, humanity should commit to devoting half of the Earth’s land surface to the preservation of other species. His provocative proposal has attracted extensive media coverage and spawned a number of practical ideas on how to achieve the goal in the U.S. and other countries.

Jessica Valenti, a columnist and staff writer for Guardian US, is the winner of this year’s Best Radio Show or Podcast.  She is receiving the award for her podcast titled “What would a feminist do?”  In the past year her semi-weekly podcast has covered numerous real life stories relating to modern feminism and reproductive rights talking to a diverse group of experts who work on these issues. Her podcast has delved into such important topics as sex education, choosing to be child-free, abortion, sexual assault, cyberbullying, and immigration as a feminist issue.

This year’s award for Best Film will go to Difret, a film which was executive produced by Angelina Jolie Pitt. Difret tells the true story of Hirut, a 14-year-old girl in Ethiopia who was kidnapped and raped, and then forced, as required by local tradition, to marry her abductor. After Hirut killed her kidnapper and rapist in self-defense, she faced criminal prosecution and a possible death sentence. After a passionate lawyer comes to Hirut’s defense, the two fight a courageous and uphill battle to save Hirut from the death penalty and, at the same time, establish equal rights for girls in Ethiopia.

Trapped”, a documentary that aired on PBS, will be awarded Best TV Show. “Trapped” takes an inside look at how state legislatures are trying to limit access to abortion services by enacting arbitrary and cumbersome restrictions on abortion providers. The program, originally filmed as a documentary, interviews abortion providers, clinic owners, nurses, and patients as they battle the Targeted Regulations of Abortion Providers (TRAP laws) that seek to make legal abortion services inaccessible to women in the state.

The award for Best Opinion Piece goes to Indonesia’s Rita Widiadana for her article “Indonesian Family Planning: A journalistic view.” In anticipation of the 2016 International Conference on Family Planning that was held in Indonesia, Widiadana’s article took a close look at the current state of reproductive healthcare in her country. She reported that Indonesia’s decentralization campaign has taken a significant toll on parts of the country’s healthcare system, including the provision of family planning services in many provinces and regencies. Her article looked at what local organizations are doing--and how the system must change—in order to improve family planning in Indonesia.

Filipino artist, Norman B. Isaac is the winner of this year’s Best Editorial Cartoon. Isaac’s cartoon features a Catholic priest shooting arrows at a large balloon (a condom), only to have the arrows blocked by the iron fist of his country’s new Reproductive Health Law.  Though the landmark legislation passed in 2013, the law has faced numerous challenges in the courts and other delaying actions. Isaac’s cartoon emphasizes the importance of implementing the legislation and preventing the Catholic Church and its allies from trying to shoot it down.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy’s #ThxBirthControl Campaign will be recognized as this year’s Best Social Media CampaignThe National Campaign’s new global initiative has encouraged women around the world to tell, via social media, how birth control has improved their lives. Using various forms of communication—including t-shirts, graphics, and videos—Thanks,  Birth Control has found creative and fun ways for women to overcome the social barriers to talking about sex and contraception.

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