Inaugural AIB Asia-Pacific Sustainability Awards presented

Thursday 04 October, 2018
Philippa Tolley, Executive Producer of Insight on Radio New Zealand, receives her award from John Maguire (left) and Simon Spanswick


The inaugural Association for International Broadcasting Asia-Pacific Sustainability Awards have been presented to the winners at a ceremony held in Taipei.

These new awards – sponsored by Radio Taiwan International – recognise the best coverage of sustainability issues in the region on television and radio. This is the first year that the Association for International Broadcasting (AIB) has organised a regional element of its annual awards for factual productions across television, radio and online. Known as the AIBs, these awards are now in their fourteenth year and are highly regarded in the global broadcasting industry.

The shortlist for the Asia-Pacific Sustainability Awards included programmes from DW TV, Al Jazeera, Red FM, MediaCorp and Radio New Zealand. Each production investigated issues around sustainability in an area that’s home to two-thirds of the world’s population. Climate change, equality, poverty, waste and other issues around sustainability are real and tangible challenges on a daily basis for many of the citizens of the Asia-Pacific region.

“As the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals mark their third anniversary, the AIB wanted to demonstrate the importance of the media in ensuring that facts and events relating to these challenges reach global audiences,” said Simon Spanswick, chief executive of the Association for International Broadcasting. “We were delighted to see a wide range of entries from broadcasters within and outside the region, showing that relevant stories about the Asia-Pacific region and the challenges it faces are receiving the attention they deserve.”

The winner of the radio award was Radio New Zealand for its programme Insight: Climate Change – Politics and Actions. The judges noted the depth of investigation and incisive story-telling in this episode that focused on the archipelago of Hawaii. It reported on how the islands are reacting to the effects of global warming particularly in light of the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

The television award went to MediaCorp’s Channel 5 for an edition of Talking Point – Can We Ban the Bag? The judges were impressed by the way the programme involved Singaporeans in better understanding their voracious appetite for single-use plastic bags. They noted the clever involvement of the public and the way that context was provided to viewers.

A high commendation went to Al Jazeera English for Earthrise – Eco-cremation. This dealt with the challenge of adjusting custom and practice around the difficult subject of death, examining the fact that 8.5 million Hindu[s] deaths mean more than 50 million trees are being cut down each year to provide wood for funeral pyres. The judges praised the way the programme makers dealt sensitively with the subject.

The awards were presented in Taipei at a gala dinner that also marked the 90th anniversary of AIB Member Radio Taiwan International. AIB Executive Committee deputy chair John Maguire (director of international relations at France Médias Monde) joined AIB CEO Simon Spanswick on stage to present the winners with their awards.

The rest of this year’s AIBs – across 20 categories ranging from daily journalism to children’s factual – will be presented at the annual awards dinner in London on November 7 hosted by Bloomberg Television’s Mark Barton.

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