ADB Institute opens developing Asia Journalism Awards competition

The Asian Development Bank Institute today opened the 2010 Developing Asia Journalism Awards (DAJA) competition with a call for submissions of articles by journalists working in developing Asia and the Pacific.

“The DAJA competition is a unique opportunity to highlight the significant contribution of journalism and individual journalists to the development process in Asia,” said Masahiro Kawai, Dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute, in opening the competition.

ADB Institute opens developing Asia Journalism Awards competition

ADB Institute opens developing Asia Journalism Awards competition

“Asian economies are changing rapidly,” he said. “By providing clear and well-informed news reporting and analysis journalists play an important role in every society by helping the public better understand the issues and events shaping their future.”

DAJA 2010 will focus on four themes expected to have long-term impacts on development trends in Asia and the Pacific: urbanization, environmental issues, rebalancing economic growth in the wake of the global financial crisis, and regional cooperation and integration.

In each area, the panel of international judges assessing submissions will give special focus to stories that investigate how these issues are impacting the lives of the poor – the 900 million Asians subsisting on less than $1.25 a day; the 1.8 billion living on less than $2 a day; and the hundreds of millions who do not have access to clean drinking water, adequate sanitation, or sufficient food to prevent malnutrition.

“The story of Asia is complex. In many areas there is rapid growth, impressive poverty reduction, and real improvements in standards of living. Elsewhere there remain tremendous needs and inequality. Asia has two faces, one shining and the other still dark,” said Mr. Kawai. “We hope the DAJA competition can explore this complexity through the work of journalists who are trying to understand and explain it better every day.”

Submission of articles will be accepted until July 31, 2010.

The international panel of judges will review all submissions and select 20 finalists.

Awards will be given in each theme category with special awards for “Development Journalist of the Year” and “Young Development Journalist of the Year” (under 30 years of age as of 31 July 2010).

Six cash prizes of 1,000 dollars will be awarded to winning journalists in each of the four theme categories and each of the two special categories.

All finalists will be invited to the Asian Development Bank Institute in Tokyo in November 2010 for a special forum focusing on journalism and development issues, and the DAJA Awards ceremony.

All articles must be submitted under one of the following four categories:

1. Life in the City: In 2008 the world reached a tipping point: or the first time, more than half of all humans-some 3.3 billion people-now live in urban centers. “By 2030, this is expected to swell to almost 5 billion,” according to a recent United Nations Population Fund report. “Many of the new urbanites will be poor. Their future, the future of cities in developing countries, the future of humanity itself, all depend very much on decisions made now in preparation for this growth.”

This category will accept articles examining the changes and challenges facing Asian cities, and the way individuals, civil society, local and national governments, and others are responding.

2. Going Green: An “essential beginning” or “desperately disappointing”? The 2009 Copenhagen Summit on climate change brought 110 world leaders and thousands of delegates from 193 countries together in December 2009 to chart a common response to the threat of global warming. It failed to reach a legally binding treaty. But it did push greenhouse gas emissions, expanding carbon footprints, melting glaciers, and other environmental issues to the center of national debates around the globe.

This category will accept articles on environmental issues: How is the environment affecting people and places in your country? What is being done to contain or reverse the problems? What needs to be done in future?

3. New Growth Paths: A key element of the global economic crisis was a collapse of demand in developed markets such as Europe and the United States. Exports to these markets have long been a critical component of growth in many Asian economies. Economists do not expect this demand to return to pre-crisis levels anytime soon. This means Asia must find new sources of demand and growth. To achieve sustainable growth countries will need to reorient their economies to expand domestic demand and trade with other Asian markets. This will require challenging and potentially controversial adjustments in many areas: improving infrastructure, expanding investment, managing national debt, improving the business climate, and others. This category will accept articles on actions and approaches to reorient economies to the new post-crisis reality. What policies are governments adopting? What are the implications and expectations of these changes? How are the changes affecting various stakeholders? How are these stakeholders reacting?

4. The Shape of Asia to Come: There are many ideas of what the Asia of the future will look like. Some believe Asian nations should continue along a gradual and “natural” road toward integrating their economies, allowing “markets” to lead the way while governments follow by providing public goods (transport and communication links, energy networks, etc.) as needed. Others believe governments should take more of a lead in providing official institutions to accelerate economic integration. Some dream of a pan-Asian economic community leading perhaps to a European-style “Community” in Asia with its own parliament, central bank, bureaucracy and possibly a common currency.

This category will accept entries on what the Asia of the future might look like, and how the vision of an integrating Asia looks from one country to another. How do people in these countries view the idea of cooperation with their neighbors across national borders with freer flows of trade and investment, liberalized migration of labor and people? Whom do they see as their natural partners in Asia and do they think politicians are doing enough to realize closer cross-border cooperation? How do they view the prospect of one day being able to travel freely across Asia (and on to Europe or the Middle East) by rail or road links? Is there a sense of “Asian identity” developing in individual countries of the region? What are the advantages – and possible drawbacks – of regional cooperation?

If you are interested in participating in the 2010 DAJA program, please register online. When you have registered, you will be sent instructions by email of how to login to your account to submit articles.

For information on competition rules and mechanics, as well as information on how to submit articles, journalists should visit the ADB Institute web site: ADBI Journalism Awards.