The second annual British Asian Media Awards felicitated the heroes who gave a voice to the South Asian community through entertainment, news, and activism by being a beacon of light in a year filled with lockdowns.
COVID-19 disrupted our lives, and as we moved from one lockdown to another, the British South Asian media industry came together to give a voice to the community, and keep the spirit alive through non-stop entertainment, news that matters, and highlighting causes.
This year the awards felicitated those who kept the show going despite the pandemic and made a difference to our lives through timely information, non-stop entertainment, activism, and engagement to promote multiculturalism in the UK.
Co-hosting the British Asian Media Awards virtually is the University of Southampton. The university is hailed as the birthplace of internet and continues to do groundbreaking research and the India Centre hopes to make an impact to change the world for better.
Professor Jane Falkingham, OBE, Vice-President International, Executive Director, India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development said: “As a global top 100 research-intensive University, we are delighted to support the British Asian Media (BAM-2020) awards, as part of our continued global commitment to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion, and the deepening of UK and South Asian multilateral relations. The ethos and objectives of BAM awards are in alignment with our India Centre’s mission to nurture inclusive and sustainable societies, through high-quality research, education and enterprise activities.”
Honouring the British Asian Voice
Social activism saw an increase in 2020, however, there were some voices that stood for diversity, inclusion, and equality. Here are the winners of the 2020 BAM Awards.
Community Champion / Influencer: Dr Chand Nagpaul CBE
The Chair of the Council of British Medical Association highlighted the COVID-19 risks faced by BAME families and doctors along with keeping the community and nation abreast with precautionary measures they can take to stay safe.
On receiving the award, he said: “As a practising GP serving a large multi-ethnic population, I saw first-hand the devastating toll of COVID-19 on our BAME communities. As BMA council chair, it was deeply distressing to see so many ethnic minority medical and healthcare colleagues die from the disease. It was vital to speak out and call on the government to address the structural inequalities fueling this alarming disparity and I am humbled to see the BMA’s leadership on this issue recognized. My heartfelt condolences go out to everyone who has lost a loved one to this deadly virus.”
British Asian Journalist/Writer of the Year: Satnam Sanghera
Award-winning columnist and feature writer Satnam Sanghera shed light on the importance of family ties during lockdown, and released his new book Empireland: How Imperialism Has Shaped Modern Britain.
LGBT Champion: Reeta Loi
Reeta has spearheaded GAYSIANS globally as a movement to provide positive visibility and a united voice for LGBT+ South Asians.
Diversity Champion: Mayank Shah
Founder and CEO of MSDUK, Mayank Shah for empowering ethnic minority-owned businesses in creating an inclusive and diverse supply chain.
On winning the award he stated: “I feel humbled for this recognition. Ethnic Minority businesses across the UK make huge contributions to the UK economy and my work at MSDUK over the last 14 years has focused on giving them the opportunity to succeed in the mainstream. We have worked with over 200 global and British companies to help them diversify their supply chain, offer opportunities and do business with some of the most talented ethnic minority businesses. Over £1b worth of business has been generated so far for hundreds of ethnic minority businesses and this is just the beginning. We will continue to fight for a more equal, fairer economy that offers opportunities to all to excel. This recognition will inspire me even further to carry on championing ethnic minority businesses across the corporate world”
Special Award for promoting Sports and Education ties between India-UK: Lakbir Singh, for his significant contribution in promoting sports and education ties between the UK and India.
At receiving the award he stated: “It is a tremendous honour to receive this award for which I am truly humbled. I would like to thank the event organisers and my entire team at UK Elite Sports Group (UKESG) for their continued support in developing impactful collaboration between the UK and India, with a particular focus on Education, Health & Sports.”
Media Impact Person of the Year: Gaurav Jandwani: Gaurav Jandwani was at the helm of affairs in the UK as Disney bought over 21st Century Fox and with it, ownership of SKY and its Indian arm – Star Network. He successfully launched Hotstar, globally in the US and UK and has boosted the networks offering to reflect the new reality.
On receiving the award, he said: “It is a matter of great pride and honour to receive the award. I would like to express my gratitude to British Asian Media Awards for this honour, who have provided a great platform to provide diversity in the UK. This has been an incredibly tough year, and broadcasters and OTT have played an important role in keeping viewers entertained and safely home, creating content in trying circumstances. While this might be an individual award, it reflects the tireless efforts of my team who work behind the scenes to create the impact- I cannot thank them enough. I hope we can celebrate together as one next year!”
Impactful Brand Campaigns
2020 was the year of brand responsibility, resilience and generosity. And through the pandemic some campaigns made their mark and message felt. Here is the list of BAM Award-winning brands for 2020.
Marketing Campaign: Elephant Atta Medium with Vitamin D Campaign
2020 was the year of brand responsibility, and during the pandemic, Elephant Atta’s Vitamin D campaign stood out. The brand created the innovation based on the research that there was an acute deficiency of Vitamin D among South Asians. The campaign was launched during the pandemic with a television ad depicting multicultural Britain and the young protagonist Rishi extolling the virtues of his homemade humble Roti. The multimedia campaign on TV/Radio/Outdoor and digital enlisted more than 40 digital influencers for effective sampling and made the product reach out effectively to South Asian Mums and home chefs.
Marketing Brand: ICICI Bank UK
The pandemic year didn’t affect the fortunes of India’s largest private sector bank and the largest Indian bank in the UK with its 360” campaign helping it achieve its business goals in the UK. The brand was ubiquitous on South Asian TV, IPL on Sky, India-Australia series on BT Sports, Southall Station, High streets of Wembley and Harrow, the radio waves, webinars and on the iconic London buses. The brand was never bigger than this in the UK since its launch and continues to gain new customers in the UK for its NRI Banking. It became the go-to bank for the community.
Community Campaign of the Year: Morrisons Living is Giving (Ramadan/Eid Campaign)
The Morrisons Living is Giving Ramadan campaign united the community with its inspirational messaging and adaptation of Premchand’s Eid classic story – ‘Eidgah’ (The story holds the same place as Charles Dickens’ – ‘A Christmas Carol’). The picture story went viral, with it being shared many a time. The campaign was supported on South Asian TV and Radio as well as influencers such as Dina Tokio (one of the biggest Muslim influencers) took notice of Morrisons Ramadan box and shared the story on Instagram. The campaign has created a unique space among South Asians in the UK.
Advertising Agency: Here and Now 365 – defining Multicultural Marketing
We are proud to say that we at Here and Now 365 won the ‘Advertising Agency’ award this year. We understand the pulse of the UK’s multicultural audience and strategized to execute campaigns that brought brands closer to the community. During the pandemic year – we executed multimedia TV, radio and outdoor campaigns as well as influencer and digital campaigns that kept the community engaged. We launched award-winning products during the pandemic and pushed boundaries like never with the Elephant Atta Medium with Vitamin D launch campaign and the Morrisons Community Campaign and our founder Manish Tiwari was recognized by the Guardian in its Global Diversity List.
Felicitating Real-time News and South Asian Entertainment
With fake news running amok, it was time for some journalists, newspapers, broadcast media and radio channels to uphold the mantle of accurate reporting and keeping the community informed.
Entertainment Channel: Sony TV
Sony TV managed to take away the ‘viewership and ratings’ crown for the pandemic year by garnering the maximum viewership on the weekends. For the first time in the history of British South Asian broadcast, it became the leader in terms of viewership week after week. Programs such as Kaun Banega Crorepati (Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire), Indian Idol and its weekday regulars such as Crime Patrol and Mere Sai saw consistent viewership. The channel also managed to create history with the Kapil Sharma show as it became a primetime staple for the British Asian community.
Shalin Patel, VP, Europe Business Head for Sony Pictures Network said: “In 2020, we saw a lot of changes in viewing habits largely due to changes in television content production. Regardless of these obstacles, SONY TV network was able to adapt and even deliver viewers fresh new programming and top viewer rated shows like Kaun Banega Crorepati and Indian Idol. This year, SONY TV is going to be just as dynamic and innovative in bringing you exciting television entertainment including shows such as Story 9 Months Ki and season 4 of Super Dancer, for which virtual auditions have already begun. I would like to thank all of our business partners for their continued support during the tough transitional past year but especially thank our loyal viewers more than ever for choosing the channel throughout lockdown and social restrictions to keep them entertained. Wishing everyone a very safe 2021.”
Indian News Channel: Aaj Tak/ India Today (SKY Channel 710)
Not only did Aaj Tak rule the roost when it comes to ratings but also highlighted the most important stories, with balanced reporting in India and the UK. The interview with Rhea Chakraborty (trolled by right-wing media as accused) with Rajdeep Sardesai was hailed by Twitter for its ‘brave fight against the misogynistic right-wing media’. The channel withstood the political trolling and right-wing propaganda bravely as two of its frontline presenters – Rahul Kanwal and Rajdeep Sardesai were time and again at the ire of right-wing pressure groups. The channel also has a long-running local show with UK correspondent Loveena Tandon.
Sakshi Kohli, Head Events and Corporate Communications at Aaj Tak stated:
“We are truly honoured and humbled to accept this award. At the India Today Group, our entire ethos is underpinned by the central belief that independent media is the bedrock of democracy. At a time of global ferment, media across the world is embattled and in a state of flux. But through inevitable cycles of high and low, travail and triumph, the India Today Group remains steadfast, winning admiration for holding the line and remaining a torchbearer for independent and credible journalism. We would also like to thank our viewers for their trust and support in us and making us the Gold Standard of Journalism.”
Pakistani News Channel: GEO News
GEO News continued with its balanced coverage, highlighting issues that mattered to the British Pakistani community. The channel has been forced to submit to the right-wing pressure tactics in the past but continues with its honest coverage. Their network of reporters in the UK ensures news that resonates with the British Pakistani audience.
Azhar Abbas, Managing Director, GEO News, said: “GEO News remains committed to its core values; Credible, Unbiased, Fast and First. In these unprecedented times, GEO has had the added responsibility to keep Team GEO safe, while continuing to deliver unparalleled content. We have remained inclusive with over 8 Million of our family members, the Pakistani Expat community globally, they have faced some of the toughest times with lockdowns and many of those being key workers. We have celebrated those serving the effected, especially from our community, and comforted those affected. Thank you, British Asian Media Awards, for giving us the recognition on our work amongst the UK Community, we will continue to serve and be the voice for Pakistani Expatriated in the power corridors.”
Asian Newspaper: Asian Lite
Anasudhin Azeez started Asian Lite almost a decade back from Manchester. The newspaper is possibly the only Asian newspaper which aims to do investigative journalism with activism as it was at the forefront of the campaign against Lord Ahmed who had to quit before being expelled from the House of Lords for sexual misconduct. He also was instrumental in an expose about the low wages paid to its workers by a leading fashion retailer in midlands. Over the years Asian Lite has come to the forefront in being the emerging voice of South Asian community.
“It’s an honour and privilege to be considered for the coveted award. All credit goes to the Team Asian Lite. Instead of trekking through the worn paths of ethnic media in the UK, we follow the paths created by maestros like CP Scott, and Harold Evans. The expulsion of Lord Nazir cements our faith In Good Journalism and its missionary values to uphold democracy and its institutions,” said Azeez Anasudhin, editor, Asian Lite
Movie Channel: Zee Cinema
Zee Cinema had the maximum number of movie premieres and film festivals, leading to high viewership – proving the power of Bollywood. The channel showed how it can keep the viewers entertained through a robust selection of movies from its Zee5 library and continued to dominate as the leading Bollywood channel. Through bespoke research, advertisers on Zee Cinema had the maximum ROI, highest recall rate and the best value for money to sponsors.
Parul Goel, Zee TV UK stated: “Since its inception, Zee Cinema has stood for three things: Movies, Masti and Magic! With the maximum number of movie premieres and film festivals, leading to high viewership – proving the power of Bollywood, Zee Cinema is the Home of Bollywood Blockbusters. And with its extensive movie catalogue, Zee Cinema dominates as the leading Bollywood channel. Through bespoke research, advertisers on Zee Cinema had the maximum ROI, highest recall rate and the best value for money to sponsors”
Reality Show: Kaun Banega Crorepati Comeback Season on Sony TV
Hosted by Amitabh Bachchan the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire saw immense popularity. The original show, as well as the repeat telecast, witnessed high viewership figures and the promo of the show with Amitabh Bachchan reciting his father’s verses were simply iconic.
Daily Soap: Anupama on Star Plus
The power of daily soaps and its captivating hold on the audience is best demonstrated through the success of Anupama on Star Plus. Narrating the story of a female protagonist, something that Star Network does best.
Asian Radio Station: Sunrise Radio
The first and largest South Asian radio channel in the UK became the voice of the community, with news, and entertainment. It started its new weekly chat show with Anila Dhami on Sundays and as always was at the forefront of everything where the South Asian community was involved.
Tony Lit MBA from Sunrise Radio stated: “At sunrise radio we have witnessed many major incidents and milestones over our 31 years of broadcasting , but none has compared to the past year with this global pandemic , though it has been extremely tough for us as a commercial entity as we have been hit hard like the entire sector economically , my team and I have rose to the challenge to continue running a seamless broadcast service when we had presenters broadcasting from home , we understood what our service would mean in terms of important information and for the wellbeing and mental health, company and support for the British Asian community at this time of national emergency , we have also supported charities and businesses where we can during this time who have needed a voice , I also took the decision to launch a current affairs programme, to bring the important information and answers to the British Asian community giving them a voice that matters , we are more than a radio station we have become over the years family members of our listeners which make up the heart & fabric of our British Asian community , so on behalf of our listeners and my team I thank BAM for honouring us with the Radio Station of the year award in a year like no other . Thank you.”
New Media Award – Podcast of the Year: Global Indian Series for the Podcast Judged by Autism
The Global Indian podcast is part of the Global Indian Series. Every week the show plunges audiences into the human experience of being a person of Indian origin. The podcast – Judged by Autism | A Father’s journey took a humane take on the experiences of being a father to a child with Autism. The pair have a candid conversation that is a raw and heartfelt account of the day-to-day battles, loneliness and ostracization that he has faced from his community through to the reality of his family’s future.
Asian Music Channel: B4U Music
The Music channel which continues to combine the best of Bollywood and British Asian chart-toppers continues to a regular feature at all South Asian restaurants and pubs in London. It continues to rule the ratings.
Rajan Nazran of B4U Music stated: “Often, in my own 58 (and counting) global Indian explorations across our planet, I have found myself in surreal situations. From fishing with heads of state at the edges of the Amazon, being taken hostage or travelling to Sierra Leone during the Ebola crisis, I have been there looking for us! But last year I found myself as a tourist in my own country; with the world grounded to a halt, we continued our explorations via our Podcast platform. In addition to our print journalism that is featured to over 30 million globally, the podcasts have become a gateway for human interest stories that go beyond the obvious. If there is one thing I have learned from my own expeditions, it is that unless we challenge perceptions and question the fabric of identity, we will often see the brutality of division. Our aim has always been to inspire purpose, passion and community.
It is a deep privilege to bring these stories and discussions to global attention every week and to be acknowledged by the British Asian Awards.”
OTT Platform: Hotstar
With shows like Aarya and big-ticket movie premiers, Hotstar was the go-to platform for original Indian content. It made news as the alternative platform for Bollywood releases held back by the Pandemic as well as original shows such as Aarya.
Best OTT Original Show: Churails on Zee5
Churails released globally by Zee5 is an exclusive series on the platform directed and written by Asim Abbasi. The show received critical acclaim as it brought together diverse characters including a lesbian Pakistani lead and broke stereotypes in a format which was bold as well as ground-breaking even leading to a brief ban in Pakistan.
Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer, ZEE5 Global, stated: “Churails, with its rich, bold narrative and globally relevant storyline has broken stereotypes and opened up a fresh conversation around equality not only in South Asia but also in other markets across the globe by putting strong women at the centre of its story. Winning this award is a recognition of the tremendous impact that our content has created across key markets and how deeply it is resonating with audiences. At ZEE5, we’re committed to bringing our viewers the best of handpicked stories from across South Asia. The UK is an especially important market for us, and we are very glad that our efforts are being recognised here with this highly coveted award.”
We are proud of all the winners of the BAM awards and are honoured to be amongst them in the list of winners. We strongly support multiculturalism in the UK and could not be more thrilled at the number of Asians in media and Asian brands that have won awards for their hard work and dedication.