Nancy J. Powell, who was invited to Laadli Media and Advertising Awards function, did not turn up after Secretary Planning Commission reportedly refused to share the dais with Ms. Powell

The ongoing row between India and the United States over the issue of arrest of diplomat Devyani Khobragade cast its shadow over the Laadli Media and Advertising Awards for Gender Sensitivity organised by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) here on Friday. According to sources, the US Ambassador to India Nancy J. Powell, who was invited to the function as one of the chief guests, did not turn up after Secretary Planning Commission Sindhushree Khullar, who was the chief guest at the award function, reportedly refused to share the dais with Ms. Powell.

Also, it is learnt that many of the winners expressed that they would be uncomfortable with Ms. Powell’s presence at the function, said sources.

Ms. Khullar, who attended the award function held at Chinmaya Mission here in the evening, expressed her happiness at being part of the function as she presented the awards to 50 journalists who were selected from Northern and Western India for the honour.

Population First and UNFPA were the organisers of the event. The jury which selected the winners included members of the media fraternity. They selected the winners from 1,315 entries that were received.

Among the winning journalists was Vinaya Deshpande Pandit of The Hindu. Ms. Deshpande who writes for the Mumbai edition wrote an article on sexual harassment at workplace. The article titled ‘Battling Predators at Work’, selected by the jury as ‘Best Investigative Crime Story’ deals with the case of a woman who was harassed at workplace and refused to keep quiet about it. Through her report Vinaya points out how the lacunae in laws and implementation make it difficult to seek justice in sexual harassment cases though changes are being brought about in the law.

Other winners included Sana Altaf, a Kashmir-based journalist, who won the award for ‘Best Reporting from Conflict Area’. Ms. Altaf had written a number of articles highlighting the plight of women in Kashmir focusing on the impact of the conflict on their lives. Abhishek Bhalla and G. Vishnu’s article in Tehelka magazine titled ‘The rapes will go on’ won an award for the ‘Best News Report’.

Journalists from Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bhopal, Mumbai, Delhi and remote parts of Uttar Pradesh were among the other winners.

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