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Three stories that won Samaan Lateef prestigious UNCA award. Read Inside

JAMMU: Kashmiri journalist Samaan Lateef has been honoured with a prestigious climate change award, by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Lateef was awarded Prince Albert Bronze Medal, along with a citation, and cash prize at The Prince Albert II of Monaco & United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) Global Prize, that are given every year for print and broadcast media coverage of Climate Change, Biodiversity, and Water.

The 26th annual UNCA Awards ceremony was organised at Cipriani 25 Broadway in New York was attended by the UN Secretary-General, UN ambassadors, high-level UN officials, Hollywood celebrities, humanitarians, corporate and cultural organizations, and media from around the globe.

The award-winning stories

Lateef was awarded the prestigious medal for three of his reports, two of them published in Telegraph and one in German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW).

In the story titled ‘Climate change imperils Kashmiri apples’ for DW, Lateef reports how the sharp temperature variations across Kashmir led to unseasonal snowfalls or early summers, resulting in heavy damage to apple orchards.

This, along with decline in production, is forcing the apple farmers to either move to alternative crops such as sown wheat, mustard, maize and legumes, or to switch to other low-paid jobs, reported Lateef in this story, published in August this year.

The other story chosen for the award was about climate change-induced heatwave in large parts of northern and central India, leading to greater number of hospital admissions.

“If the cycle of early and intense heatwaves persist in India, the country – in which 49 per cent of the total labour base works outdoors – could lose 5.8 per cent of working hours by 2030, which could affect 34 million jobs,” said Lateef in this May 2022 report.

The third story of Lateef, which was awarded, pertained to monsoon ‘superfloods’ in Pakistan that killed at least 900 people, and swept buildings away in the neigbouring country, as it battled a ‘climate-induced humanitarian disaster of epic proportions’.

Pakistan faced an unprecedented monsoon spell and received 166.8mm of rain in August, as opposed to the average of 48mm – an increase of 241 per cent, even as the country saw its wettest July since 1961, reported Lateef in his August 2022 report.

The award citation by the United Nations Correspondents Association reads: ‘Samaan Lateef reports of the climate crisis in Pakistan, Afghanistan and his India for the Telegraph UK, DW Germany and other major outlets. In addition to accounts on the unprecedented heatwave in India and flooding in Pakistan, he provided unique coverage of environmental issues threatening economic life in the disputed region of Kashmir.’

Reacting to the award, Lateef expressed his happiness and expressed gratitude to everyone.“So chuffed to be a winner of the UN’s prestigious climate change journalism award,” he tweeted, adding that he was honoured to be in the great company of Emilio Godoy and Kourosh Ziabari.

Emilio Godoy of Mexico has been awarded the Gold Medal and Kourosh Ziabari of Iran with the Silver Medal.

Earlier this year, Samaan Lateef was a finalist in the Investigative Journalism category by Asia Media Awards and also named as Freelance Journalist of the Year by the Society of Editors United Kingdom.


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