There were impassioned calls for more diversity at ‘decision making levels’ within the media industry at the 10th Asian Media Awards.
The 2022 Asian Media Awards celebrated the achievements of journalists, broadcasters and leading creative industry professionals.
The ceremony hosted by Sky Sports News presenter Bela Shah saw special awards for LBC News host Lisa Aziz, BBC 5Live broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake and acclaimed TV and stage actor Kulvinder Ghir.
The ceremony honoured journalism, online, radio, TV, creative media, stage, theatre and live events in 23 categories. The ceremony was back at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate where the first awards took place in 2013.
The University of Salford are the Premier Partners for the awards which aim to shine a light on the accomplishments of media professionals from across the UK.
The event took place during a historic week for British Asians after Rishi Sunak became the first person of Asian heritage to become Prime Minister.
In the journalism categories Rohit Kachroo was named Journalist of the Year for the second year running, whilst Daily Mail Sports reporter Isaan Khan won the Outstanding Young Journalist award. BBC Yorkshire & Lincolnshire journalist Pritti Mistry picked up the Regional Journalist of the year award and the New York Times and The Serial Podcast series ‘The Trojan Affair’ won the Best Investigation award.
There were also awards for Nikesh Rughani who was named Sports Reporter of the Year and Andrew Misra of ITV Border who won the Report of the Year category for his piece ‘Helping Children in Crisis’.
Speaking on stage Nihal told of how people may go through ‘phases in their careers’ and encouraged young journalists in particular to believe in their full potential.
He said: “You start off by being ‘hood’ famous. That means that in the area that you live people begin to know who you are.
“Then the second stage is that you are Asian famous. That is absolutely cool and all great.
“But rather than be a certain size fish in a certain size body of water I wanted to go swim with the sharks in the ocean. To do that you have to have ambition and I think if you are a person of colour you also have to say to yourself, “You need me more, I don’t need you.”
He later joked how the third stage and that being ‘white famous’ brought with it added pressures and expectations from general members of the public.
Lisa Aziz told of how the newsrooms of the eighties were a far cry from modern teams.
She said: “For me personally, it’s been wonderful over the years to see so many fantastic BME journalists and reporters enter the industry and be given the chance to shine, especially on screen.’’
“There is a reluctance still though from what I witness to allow much of a shift or change in making news management roles especially more available to women or BME staff, despite the many years of experience many have clearly built up.
Kulvinder Ghir was presented The Sophiya Haque Services to Television, Film & Theatre award, he was joined on stage by his mum and brother and thanked them for their unflinching support during his career.
In the media categories there was a double win for Ethnic Reach who claimed the Media Agency of the Year award and the 6G Internet Creative Media Award for their campaign ‘#BeVisible: See the Ability, Not the Difference’ run alongside Vatika UK.
In the radio categories Magic FM’s Neev Spencer won her first Radio Presenter of the Year award at the Asian Media Awards.
In one of the most impassioned speeches on the night she said: “For me there is change and awards like this make an enormous difference. There are legends in this room, trail blazers in this room. But it is not enough.
“It is not like we don’t want to help each other. We all want to help each other. We are all here tonight to help each other but the people who are in charge are not from our background.
“So, they are not going to understand that it is not just about tokenism. It is not hiring someone because they are brown.
“It is about the story about who they are. For me I don’t want to be on TV talking about Diwali and Vaisakhi. I want to be talking about Neev Spencer and how she is British as she is Asian.”
BBC Asian Network programme ‘The Everyday Hustle’ won the Best Radio Show award.
The Radio Station of the Year award went to Lyca Radio.
The Best Live Event award was won by the London Indian Film Festival and the Best Stage Production award went to Peaceophobia.
Balvinder Sopal picked up the TV Character award for her portrayal of Suki Panesar in Eastenders.
Speaking on stage she said: “Eastenders is brilliant. It is collaborative process and we have worked with the producers and writers to make sure we push stories so that we are not telling the same old story that we are oppressed by our culture and religion and our identity is a powerful thing.”
The Best TV Show / Programme award went to We Are England Series, My Hometown: Jassa Ahluwalia: Am I English?.
Jassa said: “My #BothNotHalf work was born out of a search for belonging as a British South Asian artist, so to be recognised by the Asian Media Awards, in the company of so much brown excellence – feels massive.
“We are a mixed heritage nation, our history and our future is mixed. Long may we continue to celebrate the multiplicity that defines us all.”
The TV Channel of the Year was won by Sony Entertainment Television.
The newcomer accolade went to Ambika Mod, the comedian and actress whose portrayal of NHS junior doctor Shruti in the critically acclaimed BBC One series ‘This is Going to Hurt’.
The Best Video Channel award went to Dr Karan Rajan, the TikTok star whose videos have racked up millions of views on social media and YouTube.
One of the few Asian newspapers still publishing print editions, Asian Standard, was named the Best Publication 2022.
The Best Podcast honour went to Coffee and Chromosomes. Crafted by Nisha and Hamel Soni on behalf of the Wouldn’t Change a Thing Charity, the podcast aimed to debunk and dispel some of the negative perceptions & beliefs around Down syndrome.
Professor Allan Walker, Dean of the School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology at the University of Salford, said: “This year was the 10th anniversary of the Asian Media Awards and I’m delighted to congratulate the winners, all of whom were of exceptional standard and many, of course, are well known household names.
“The School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology has been the premier sponsor for nine of these years and it has been a privilege to see the event grow in its importance to the sector. Similarly, at Salford we are seeing an increasing number of alumni from the South Asian community gaining employment in the industry.”
The 2022 Asian Media Awards winners of all categories and special awards were revealed at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Friday October 28.
Previous recipients of an Asian Media Award include Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Waris Hussein, Art Malik, Mehdi Hasan, Nina Wadia, Anita Rani, Shobna Gulati, Faisal Islam & Adil Ray.
The University of Salford are Premier Partners to the Asian Media Awards.
Partners to the awards include ITV, MediaCom, Reach PLC, Manchester Evening News & TheBusinessDesk.com.
The awards are also supported by Manchester Metropolitan University, AMT Lawyers, DKR Accountants, 6G Internet, Hilton Manchester Deansgate, Fritz AV, Payal Events & Cleartwo.