"I have to improvise on my feet to say something."
The 2021 Asian Media Awards (AMA) was held on October 29, 2021.
The ninth annual event took place at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester, marking the first live awards ceremony since 2019.
The 2020 event was digital due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The University of Salford was the premier sponsor of the event.
Other partners included ITV, MediaCom, Reach PLC, Manchester Evening News, Press Association Training and TheBusinessDesk.com.
Journalists, writers and bloggers attended the 2021 AMAs as many were honoured for their work as British South Asians in the UK media industry.
Sky Sports News presenter Bela Shah hosted the event.
On being given hosting duties, Bela previously said:
“It is an absolute honour to host the Asian Media Awards 2021.
“I am delighted to be part of an event which recognises the talent of my peers in the media industry.
“After a tough time for everyone, I am excited to be able to celebrate the event together in the beautiful and diverse city of Manchester.”
With an exciting evening filled with the who’s who from British South Asian media, the 2021 AMAS gave recognition for the hard work and efforts of the nominees for the awards.
The awards were given across a number of key categories that demonstrated the value and importance of Asian media in the UK, especially, after a tough eighteen months due to the pandemic.
The 2021 AMAs saw the likes of Rohit Kachroo, Lalita Ahmed and Noreen Khan win awards for their contributions to Asian media.
DESIblitz.com was honoured to win ‘Best Publication/Website‘. Elevating this platform to a highly recognised and needed publication for British and South Asian diaspora, producing news and lifestyle content.
The award was picked up on the night by DESIblitz editors, Faisal Shafi and Balraj Sohal.
Previously DESIblitz won the ‘Best Website’ award in 2017, 2015 and 2013. Making this the fourth best website award it has won
Indi Deol, Managing Director, said:
“To receive this reward now as we emerge out of the pandemic makes it even more significant.
“We have had a difficult couple of years during Covid but the team has continued to work hard and show their grit through the hardest of times, they truly deserve this award.
“Being honoured by our peers is hugely gratifying and I’m thankful to my colleagues in the media industry that voted for us to be the overall winners this year.
“We don’t set out to win awards we just do the best we can day in and day out.”
Faisal Shafi, Events and Features Editor, said:
“It is a great feeling to be victorious as the ‘Best Publication/Website’ at the 2021 Asian Media Awards.
“We are very thankful to the expert panel of judges who voted for us.
“Receiving our fourth Asian Media Award is a testimony to everyone at DESIblitz.com.”
“It has been a truly supreme faceted team effort. This includes our senior, news, and feature teams as well our writers, contributors, project specialists, camera people, and video editors.
“A very special mention also to our readers, viewers, supporters, and partners.”
Rohit, of ITV News, was named ‘Journalist of the Year while Jeevan Ravindran was named ‘Outstanding Young Journalist’.
The ‘Regional Journalist of the Year’ went to Yasmin Bodalbhai.
Eastenders star Jaz Deol won ‘Best TV Character’ for his role as Kheerat Panesar.
As he was announced as the winner, Jaz appeared taken aback, seemingly not expecting that he would have to make a speech.
He said: “Wow. Usually, as an actor, I get given lines, but now I have to improvise on my feet to say something.”
Jaz explained that when he first took on the role, he wanted to “create a character” that would be seen as a “protagonist in life”, rather than someone who would fade into “the background”.
He added that he feels “very proud” to play Kheerat and to be a source of representation on EastEnders.
Lalita Ahmed won the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Media’ award.
Her daughter Samira said on Twitter:
“My amazing pioneering Mum who came to Britain in 1960 won a special Asian Media Award last night for her lifetime of work in the Asian Programmes unit, demonstrating Indian cookery on Pebble Mill at One and her films eg Bhaji on the Beach. So proud.”
The Full List of Winners
Journalist of the Year
Rohit Kachroo – Global Security Editor, ITV News
Libya’s ‘Game of Drones’ – Investigated by Benjamin Strick; Nader Ibrahim; Leone Hadavi and Manisha Ganguly for BBC News Africa
Regional Journalist of the Year
Yasmin Bodalbhai – Reporter & Presenter, ITV Central
Outstanding Young Journalist
Jeevan Ravindran – Freelance Journalist
Sports Journalist of the Year
Vaishali Bhardwaj – Reporter & Presenter
Report of the Year
Youngest Covid Victim in the UK – Darshna Soni for Channel 4 News
Radio Presenter of the Year
Best Radio Show
Bobby Friction – BBC Asian Network
Radio Station of the Year
Best TV Character
Jaz Deol as Kheerat Panesar in Eastenders
My God, I’m Queer – Behind The Facade Films for Channel 4
Brown Girls Do It Too
Creative Media Award
Football and Me – The Football Association
Media Agency of the Year
Best Stage Production
Full English – Natalie Davies & Bent Architect. Lead Artist: Natalie Davies; Featuring Kamal Khan & Lucy Hird; Lighting Designer: Sherry Coenen; Projection & Sound Designer Dave Searle; Movement Director: Jenn Kay; Designed & Directed by Jude Wright. Full English is devised from the journals & memories of Natalie Davies
AMA Best Newcomer
Media Personality of the Year
Sophiya Haque Services to Television & Film Award
Outstanding Contribution to Media Award
The Asian Media Awards highlights the importance of Asian media within the UK and the role it plays in bringing ethnic communities and the mainstream media together.
The 21 winners prove that the Asian Media Awards can only get bigger and better. Congratulations to all of the winners.