Asia Centre and Oxfam Announce 2021-22 Journalism Award Finalists

Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2021-22 Journalism For an Equitable Asia Award.

The Award recognises the work of journalists who wrote on the threat of inequality to the lives and livelihoods of disadvantaged groups including women, ethnic, religious and gender minorities, and migrant and informal workers.

The Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award aims to not only recognize these journalists, but also to encourage more journalists to write for a fairer Asia.  

Here are the finalists:

Miss Meg Adonis is a 25-year-old writer in the Philippines. She was a journalist for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country’s largest newspaper, where she told the stories of education stakeholders bearing the brunt of the Philippines’ haphazardly implemented remote learning setup. Seeking justice for their plight, she spoke to overworked yet underpaid public school teachers, burnt out students, and professionals whose months-long work for the government remain uncompensated. Her stories helped bring the public’s attention to the country’s learning crisis and seek accountability from the government.

Read her article: “Yet another challenging year for public school teachers here.

Mr. Vantha Phoung and Ms. Lay Sopheavotey are journalists working at Thmey Thmey News. Mr. Vantha has covered social issues, human rights and the environment, including impacts on health, climate change solutions and illegal logging. Ms. Sopheavotey has covered issues on social protection, workers’ rights, human trafficking among others. Mr. Gerald Flynn is a freelance journalist based in Phnom Penh, where he produces in-depth stories exploring Cambodia’s social, political and environmental issues for local, regional and international outlets. The three journalists have collaborated to write an article. 

Read their article: “Locked Down and Out of Work: Desperation Sets in among Garment Workers” here.

Miss Xinghui Kok is a senior reporter at the South China Morning Post. She works on the Asia desk and is based in Singapore, from which she closely monitors and reports on developments in the city-state and the surrounding region. Xinghui works across beats, from politics, macroeconomics and business, to health and social issues. She worked for local papers in Singapore before joining the Post in 2020.

Read her article: “Coronavirus: why vaccine inequality in Asia threatens the world’s recovery” here.

Miss Geela Garcia is a freelance multimedia journalist and peasant advocate based in Manila, Philippines. Her photographic work focused on inclusive development, documents stories of women, food sovereignty, and the environment, with the aim to write history from the experience of its makers. Her writing and photography appear on South China Morning Post, Philstar, Bulatlat, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Rappler among others. 

Read her article: “Who peels your garlic: Inside Manila’s informal economy” here.

Ms. Lay Sopheavotey is a political student. Her passion for democracy, human rights and social work led her to become a journalist. Since 2019, she has started working as a young female journalist at Thmey Thmey. She has been covering issues such as social protection, workers’ rights, and human trafficking among others for more than two years. Gradually, she sees social issues in more detail and more importantly, citizens who need social protection. To build awareness on social protection for citizens, she decided to write in detail about citizens’ challenges and needs. Therefore, her article focuses on informal workers, union leaders, and vulnerable women and children.

Read her article: “Trade Unions: Women Workers Need Support During Pregnancy and Postpartum” here.

Mr. Sanket Jain is an award-winning independent journalist and a documentary photographer based in India’s Maharashtra state, and a Senior Fellow at People’s Archive of Rural India, where he is documenting vanishing livelihoods and dying art forms from rural India. His work has been featured in more than 30 national and international publications. Sanket, who spends most of his time in the countryside, has been extensively reporting on the transition rural India is undergoing through the lived experiences of everyday people. You can read his stories at

Read his article: “Covid 19 and The Desperate Lives of India’s Sugarcane Workershere.

Mr. Poramet Tangsathaporn is a new journalist from Bangkok Post with one year experience in journalism. He is passionate in fighting for human rights for the marginalised in Thailand, especially the LGBTQ+ community, sex workers, PHIV, women, drug users and working class, by writing to reveal how they are being neglected or subordinated in societal and national level and point out solutions. The purpose of these writings aims to ignite social change and policy change to improve their lives at a national level and ultimately, at a global level. His goal in his journalism career since day one is, “to make the unheard heard.” Ms. Kornchanok Raksaseri is a Thai journalist who has covered almost every field from business and lifestyle to politics and social issues. She was a Political Editor for The Nation, Assistant Managing Editor for Econ News and Deputy News Editor for Bangkok Post. Now she works with Zero Covid Thailand as a content provider and campaigner aiming to eliminate COVID-19 from her country. The two journalists have collaborated to write an article. 

Read their article: “Patpong ‘on its last legs’” here.

Mr. Atom Araullo is a journalist and documentary filmmaker. He currently hosts GMA Network’s “The Atom Araullo Specials” and “I-Witness.” He also anchors State of the Nation, a nightly newscast on GTV. Araullo’s work revolves around disaster reporting, climate change, conservation, conflict, and social issues. In 2017, he co-founded FYT, an independent media organization that promotes community and explanatory journalism. He previously worked as an anchor and reporter of ABS-CBN News. Araullo is also the National Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. He earned a degree in Applied Physics at the University of the Philippines.

Read his article: “The Hunger Pandemic” here.

Ms. Wanna Tamthong (Tan) is a journalist of Prachatai, an independent newspaper in Thailand. A former law student turned journalist who came up with a number of questions on what is going on in her hometown, the quality of life, women rights, migrant labours, youth, democracy, and the future of us as citizens. Being a journalist has allowed her to find answers to these questions, scrutinise, and share these matters to the public. 

Read her article: “How to Make a Killing: Overpriced Covid-19 Tests for migrant labourers” here.

Ms. Marielle Lucenio is a multimedia journalist based in Manila. She is currently a corporate reporter for a local business paper. Prior to this, she was doing freelance, covering human rights, politics, and the Church, straight after she graduated from college. She was a Friedrich Naumann Foundation Journalism Fellow in 2021. In college, she is a Menagerie (Feature) writer for The LaSallian, her university’s official publication, wherein she won several writing awards on and off-campus. Outside reporting, Marielle enjoys her free time playing tennis and watching Formula 1. 

Read her article: “The gold trap: COVID-19 is pushing more Filipino children into hazardous work” here.

Here are the merit award winners: 

Ms. Puja Changoiwala is an award-winning journalist and author of three books – Homebound, Gangster on the Run and The Front Page Murders. As a journalist, she writes about the intersections of gender, crime, social justice, human rights and technology in India. Her work has been published across the likes of BBC, CNN, The Hindu, The Guardian, National Geographic, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, among other publications across the world. A 2019 fellow with the Global Investigative Journalism Network, Puja is a recipient of the International Centre for Journalists’ Covid-19 Reporting Award, the Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity, Red Ink Award for Excellence in Indian Journalism, Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award, among others. 

Read her article: “Mysterious Deaths of Mother, Daughter Expose India’s Neglect of Rural Healthcare” here.

Mr Rafiqul Islam is an environment and development reporter based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is a senior reporter of Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS), the national news agency in Bangladesh. He contributes to, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Inter Press Service (IPS), and Climate Home. He holds a postgraduate degree in Communication and Journalism from Chittagong University, Bangladesh and obtains an M Phil degree from Dhaka University. He can be reached at

Read his article: “COVID-19 Pandemic Exacerbates Domestic Workers’ Plight in Bangladesh” here.

Mr. Raka Ibrahim is an author, journalist, and amateur sailor based in Denpasar, Indonesia. His writings on music, identity, and the politics of everyday life have been featured in international media and underground zines alike. He is currently a contributing writer for The Jakarta Post and volunteer sailor for the cultural sailing ship Arka Kinari.

Read his article: “Alcohol on an open wound: Transgender Indonesians struggle through pandemic” here.

Ms. Aarefa Johari is a journalist from Mumbai, India, with over 12 years of experience covering a variety of beats, including gender, labour, urban development, communities and culture. She began her career with Hindustan Times, a national daily, and has been with, a national digital publication, for the past eight years. She is the recipient of two Laadli Media Awards for gender sensitive journalism, and the 2018 Sriram Award for excellence in financial journalism. 

Read her article: “The migrant workers who never went back” here.

Ms. Huong Nguyen is a journalist and reporter for Vietnam Investment Review. Many of her articles focus on inequality, economic growth, and business recovery. She is nominated for her article highlighting how the pandemic has exacerbated gender inequality and the unfortunate effect the pandemic has had on working women. 

Read her article: “Inequality changes forcing fresh gender-related policy” here.

These are the nominations of the 2021-22 Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award. The award ceremony will be held on 15 March 2022 2.00PM (Bangkok time).

Sign up for the award ceremony: