Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Mumbai’s campaign to save the girl child—Laadli—is in Chennai now, to acknowledge gender sensitive media and honour them.

The felicitation function for the southern region UNFPA-Laadli Media Awards for Gender Sensitivity 2006–07 will be held on Friday.

Spurred on to act by the belief that carrying positive images of the girl child through the media will counter son preference, Laadli, labelled as the girl child campaign of Population First, has been focusing on encouraging gender sensitive media. To counter the lack of interest, and sometimes resistance of the media to play the role of an agent for social change, the organisation adopts a comprehensive strategy for media advocacy.

Some of the components of the strategy include developing guidelines to track the portrayal of the girl child in the mainstream media, motivating corporates to promote gender sensitive portrayals in their media campaigns and building public opinion against the negative portrayal of the girl child/women through emails and SMS. The Laadli media awards were also instituted to acknowledge the positive portrayal of the girl child in advertising/television and print media.

The first Laadli Media Awards function, held in March 2007, was a great success, says Preeti Gopalkrishnan, co-ordinator of the awards. Encouraged by the response, the UNFPA agreed to support a nationwide roll-out of the awards. The first of the regional awards was held in Mumbai for the western region in December last.

Awardees of the southern region comprising Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry will be felicitated on Friday, followed by ceremonies for the eastern and northern regions, says Ms. Gopalkrishnan.

About 50 applications were received from all constituents of the media, and 18 awardees, including four in special categories, were chosen. Each will be given a citation and a trophy.