"I believe we have to create our own luck."
On Monday 28th September, 2015, London’s prestigious ITV Studios welcomed a snapshot of the Asian media and entertainment world.
Prominent personalities in the industry gathered to find out the finalists for this year’s Asian Media Awards.
Now in its third year, the Asian Media Awards has firmly established itself as one of the leading award ceremonies that recognises the talent of creative professionals from all sectors of entertainment and media, including investigative journalism, marketing, radio, TV and online.
As well as announcing the 2015 shortlist, distinguished speakers (who make up this year’s judging panel) took to the podium to talk about their own experiences in the ever-changing media world.
One of the highlights of the evening was a delightful talk given by sports journalist and broadcaster, Mihir Bose.
Best known for his weekly ‘Big Sports Interview’ column for the London Evening Standard, Bose recalled his journey into media at the time where it was largely dominated by White British, to become the BBC’s first Sports Editor.
Roohi Hasan, Senior Producer at ITN focused on a recurring topic of the evening; essentially the opportunities, or lack of them, for British Asians in mainstream media.
Determination, passion and ambition were all key traits that Roohi spoke about, and she mentioned how she had never been pigeonholed by her background.
Instead she found that her ethnicity offered her insights that were sought after by her colleagues at ITN.
Her advice to young journalism enthusiasts was to be vocal and know what you want: “I believe we have to create our own luck,” she said.
Writer and Broadcaster Sarfraz Manzoor also spoke about opportunities for Asians. While he admitted that there were more role models in media for young Asians to look up to than from his day, Asians from working-class backgrounds still struggled to break through class and cultural barriers.
One of the reasons he pursued writing was simply because: “Voices like mine seem totally absent from public life.”
For Manzoor, opportunities for those who had not been born into privilege was still limited. In many cases, mainstream media is regularly guilty of stereotyping, and don’t look beyond religion and ethnicity, as skin colour is more visible than social background.
But Sarfraz believes that this can change as opportunities for more ethnic journalists increases, and not only for those born into privilege, but for those from working classes as well:
“I am paid to be curious. And to think is a great privilege. Use your words wisely, and never to forget the broken voices of ones who lost.”
For 2015, official charity partner for the Asian Media Awards is Plan UK. Director of Public Engagement, Mike Thiedke spent a few moments talking about how the charity has transformed the lives of children all over the world.
Gender discrimination is still rife in many parts of the world, and females are discriminated against, especially in Asian cultures where education is disregarded, and child marriage and rape is high.
One of the charity’s campaigns, ‘Because I Am a Girl’ seeks to support girls who face violence in and around schools.
With so many inspiring speeches from established media personalities throughout the evening, the nominations for this year show the exceptional progress that British Asians have made in this competitive industry.
As well as some familiar faces, the finalists welcome a diverse array of new faces. In the ‘Outstanding Young Journalist’ category we see the likes of Siraj Datoo, Political Reporter for Buzzfeed, and Science Journalist, Dalmeet Singh Chawla.
The expansion of British Asians in mainstream media is also highlighted in the TV category where we see popular reality show, Desi Rascals nominated for ‘Best TV Show’.
2013 winners, DESIblitz is also nominated once again for ‘Best Website’ alongside Asian Culture Vulture, BizAsiaLive, Khush Mag, and Simplybhangra. Director, Indi Deol says:
“Once again being shortlisted for the Asian Media Awards this year represents the hard work and dedication of our team from the staunch editorial to the creative video production.
“As a website, for us, content matters most, because it is the one driver that encourages creativity and originality from our team.”
“But great content is no use without a great audience.
“With our visitors increases tremendously every year, we ensure quality and then quantity to them by delivering our content across all devices including mobile, tablet and desktop.
“We are thrilled to be part of this recognition by the prestigious Asian Media Awards and wish every one nominated all the best for the finals in October.”
Here is the full list of nominees for the Asian Media Awards 2015:
Journalist of the Year
Kavita Puri (Deputy Editor, BBC TV Current Affairs)
Secunder Kermani (Reporter, BBC Newsnight)
Dipesh Gadher, (Chief Investigative Reporter, The Sunday Times)
Dharmesh Sheth (Reporter, Sky Sports)
Nelufar Hedayat (Journalist, Channel Four)
Shabnam Mahmood (Senior Broadcast Journalist, BBC Asian Network)
Exposure – Jihad: A British Story (ITV News)
India’s Daughter: A film by Leslee Udwin
Muslim Drag Queens (Kieran Yates for the Guardian)
Pakistan’s Hidden Shame (Clover Films for Channel 4)
Revenge Porn (BBC Newsnight)
Unreported World: Vaccination Wars (Quicksilver Media for Channel 4)
Regional Journalist of the Year
Arif Ansari (BBC North West)
Emb Hashmi (BBC Radio Derby)
Aasma Day (Lancashire Evening Post)
Sangeeta Bhabra, (ITV Meridian)
Outstanding Young Journalist
Siraj Datoo, Political Reporter, Buzzfeed
Dalmeet Singh Chawla, Science Journalist
Joty Chopra, Writer & reporter
Kiran Kaur (Reporter and Newsreader, KM Group)
Chayya Syal, Writer & blogger
TV Report of the Year
Autism in the South Asian Community (ITV News Central)
Fake Healers (BBC East Midlands)
Slave Wives (BBC Newsnight)
Tackling Extremism (ITV News Central)
The Honour Code (BBC Asian Network)
Publication of the Year
The Asian Today
The Muslim News
Asian Culture Vulture.com
British Asian Podcast
Best TV Character
Pasha Bocarie (Rakesh, Emmerdale)
Sair Khan (Alya Nazir, Coronation Street)
Nikesh Patel (Aafrin Dalal, Indian Summers)
Rakhee Thakrar, (Shabnam Masood, Eastenders)
TV Channel of the Year
Best TV Show
Desi Rascals (Sky TV)
Desi Beats (Colours TV)
Mulaqat with Sukhi Bart (Brit Asia TV)
TV Presenter of the Year
Radio Station of the Year
BBC Asian Network
Lyca Radio 1458
Regional Radio Station of the Year
Asian Sound Radio
Asian Star Radio
Unity 101 Community Radio
Radio Presenter of the Year
Best Radio Show
Bobby Friction on BBC Asian Network
Noreen Khan on BBC Asian Network
Panjabi Hit Squad on BBC Asian Network
Tommy Sandhu on BBC Asian Network
Sunny and Shay on BBC London 94.9
EVENTS, MARKETING & PR
Best Live Event
Alchemy 2015 (The Southbank Centre)
BBC Proms (Late Night with the BBC Asian Network)
Diwali Lights Switch-On (Leicester City Council)
Best Stage Production
Behind the Beautiful Forevers
Bend it Like Beckham: The Musical
East is East
Happy Birthday Sunita (Rifco Arts)
Media Agency of the Year
Here & Now 365
Media Professional of the Year
Celebrating excellence in the media, the 2015 Asian Media Awards will announce its winners at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Thursday 29 October, 2015.
Good luck to all the nominees!