OWM celebrates first foundation day

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The women’s collective honoured two journalists from Odisha for their outstanding reporting

Bhubaneswar, March 4: The first foundation day of Odisha Women in Media (OWM) was held at a city hotel on Monday. Padma Shri Patricia Mukhim and Smt Deepa Adhikari, founder-director Piplika graced the occasion as the special guests.

Odisha Women in Media is a collective of women working in journalism and communications sector.

The event focused on the theme of ‘Unheard Voices: Stories from the Grassroots.’ Smt Sulochana Das, Mayor, Bhubaneswar and Smt. Minati Behera, Chairperson, State Commission for Women attended the event as the Chief Guests.

President of OWM, Kasturi Ray, set the tone and agenda for the programme, chalking out the future.

Bhubaneswar Mayor Sulochana Das encouraged the OWM members to follow their passion and not to give up. A journalist before she joined politics, Das shared her story of her struggles and efforts in reporting. “Now, whenever I am in the field as a politician, I immediately know the problems and difficulties of the people. But, in both the fields, it is bouquets and brickbats – more of the latter.”

Minati Behera, chairperson of the State Commission for Women, spoke about the inspiration and inclusion of women in every sector. “When I joined the post, there were 12,000 cases related to women. Now, there are around 2200 cases only. Women in media have an important role in highlighting the cases which we sometimes tend not to see.”

Smt Mukhim and Smt Adhikari stressed on the importance of giving women at grassroot level a voice through journalism.

“Journalism requires a lot of passion and energy. Women journalists should show solidarity with one another. It’s important to stand with one another,” asserted Mukhim, who is also the editor of The Shillong Times.

Deepa Adhikari stressed on developing the listening skill, especially of women journalists. “It’s not that there are the voiceless — there is no one to hear them. If we hear the unheard, we can do grassroot reporting with renewed energy.”

She also said that we don’t talk about intellectual marginalisation, who prevents us from hearing the voices of the vulnerable.

OWM gave out two awards in Odia and English journalism. Satarupa Samantray of Argus TV (Odia) and Aishwarya Mohanty, an Independent Journalist (English) bagged the awards in these categories.

Around 170 members of OWM were present on the occasion.

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