Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award 2020-21

Calling all Journalists from Asia to submit your entries for the 2020-21 Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award, which encourages more journalists to write for a fairer Asia that works for all its people!

Articles should cover how vulnerable communities across Asia are facing challenges from COVID-19, but go beyond to include issues such as inequality, poverty, and dysfunctional governance.

Articles must meet a minimum of 650 words in length and published in print or digital platforms.

Nominated journalists must have written at least two articles about inequality from 1 January 2020 to 31 January 2021.

Nominations can be submitted online here:

Deadline for submission is on January 31, 2021.

For more information please click here:

Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award

Asia, just like the rest of the world, is grappling with COVID-19. Despite tremendous economic growth and advances in healthcare, technology, and elsewhere during the preceding decades, we are struggling to overcome the pandemic and the resultant economic and social fallouts. 

Like with any crisis, the worst impacts are brunt the people left-behind the most. Impoverished communities, daily wage workers, women caregivers, migrants, those living in congested and underserved urban slums, elderly, differently-abled, and refugees and displaced people have been hit harder. Not only have such disadvantaged groups faced more exposure to the disease, but they’ve also felt the worst of the economic fallout. If current trends continue, more people could die from starvation by the end of the year than from the pandemic. 

As a voice of the people, journalists have the skills and visibility to draw public attention to gaps and loopholes in the basic social infrastructures. Across Asia, journalists have reported on the plight of people who’ve been suffering injustice, discrimination, and exclusion to create social empathy and engagement for progress. Journalists have and can influence the policymakers and action leaders in governments, businesses, and among the general public.

Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award aims to recognize and encourage more journalists to write for a fairer Asia that works for all its people.

The award will launch onsite or online* in several countries in South and Southeast Asia: Bangladesh, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam.

*Should the COVID-19 pandemic still persist in the early part of 2021 where travel and face-to-face meetings are not possible, then online sessions such as webinars will be held.

Criteria for Nomination

Journalists are eligible for nomination if they meet the following criteria:

  • Written English* articles of minimum 650 words in length published in print or digital platform (Any written medium or public platform is eligible given the fulfillment of all the other criteria)
  • Journalists writing two or more pieces published on the theme of vulnerable communities from 31st January 2020 to 31st January 2021 will be eligible
  • The nominated article(s) should cover how vulnerable communities across Asia are facing challenges from COVID-19, but go beyond to include structural issues such as inequality, poverty and dysfunctional governance from lenses such as economic inequality, women’s rights, public services, taxation, climate justice, etc. They may also discuss practices and policies that contribute to building a fairer Asia

* Journalists may also submit articles published in other languages with a mandatory English translation.

Nomination Process

  • Awards nominations can be submitted online:
  • Journalists themselves, readers, media institutions or interested others such as civil society and academia may submit nominations.
  • Each valid nomination must contain the name of the journalist, verifiable details of the published article(s) (links), their media affiliation(s), the contact information (Email, WhatsApp/line, phone) of the journalist.
  • While they are required to submit proof of two published articles, they must also indicate which one they’d prefer to be considered for the award.
  • In case online links are not available they can submit the scanned articles (translations) as pdf documents.

Award Timelines

Nominations Open: 20 November 2020

Submissions Deadline: 31 January 2021

Award Ceremony: 20 March 2021

Judging Panel

The Judging Panel will be made up of 5 people who are media and inequality experts, and will include representation from the Asia Centre, Oxfam International and independent experts.

Judging Criteria

Thematic Relevance: 40%

  • Does the article tackle issues of inequality?
  • Is the topic relevant and important to the country/region concerned?
  • Is the discussion of the issues well supported by evidence?

Social Relevance: 35%

  • Does the topic address a concern relevant to society?
  • Does it accurately reflect the affected communities’ voices and concerns?
  • Does the topic identify causes leading to the specific inequality and what can be done to address the issues?

Value Alignment: 10%

  • Does it advocate for a more equitable society?
  • Does it tackle inequality through the lenses of helping/empowering those worst affected?
  • Does the article evoke a call for action?

Technical: 15%

  • Is the article well researched and evidence-based?
  • Is the article and analysis well structured and rational?
  • Is the article presented in a way that is easily understood by the reader?


  • The top 3 winners will receive cash awards and will be recognised at the Award Ceremony.
  • The top 10 journalists* will be invited to participate in the Journalism for an Equitable Asia Forum following the Award Ceremony to be held in Bangkok.
  • Top 5 journalists from each country will receive certificates recognizing their work. 

*Depending on their ability to participate and COVID-19 travel restrictions