By LIM MAY LEE
YESTERDAY, we at R.AGE received one of the highest accolades we could get – the United Nations (UN) Malaysia Award, for contributions to the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
We were psyched to say the least, especially when we heard what the UN had to say about our work.
“This year’s award aims to recognise champions of change, especially youths who uphold the values of the United Nations and meaningfully contribute to the goals and targets of the 2030 agenda – a world where no one is left behind,” said UN Representative to Malaysia Marianne Clark-Hattingh.
“R.AGE has channelled their enthusiasm, creativity, skills and courage to shed light on often-hidden social issues that matter to Malaysia’s inclusive growth and development,” she added.
The Predator In My Phone series, where R.AGE journalists went undercover to lure out child sexual predators, was mentioned as one of the factors that earned R.AGE the award.
But earlier R.AGE projects like the Asian Media Award-winning The Curse Of Serawan and The Elephant In My Room were also highlighted, as they explored issues that are at the core of UN’s work, like social equality and sustainable development.
“In highlighting issues affecting the most marginalised and vulnerable in the country, the investigative reporting work of the team at R.AGE reminds us that everyone has the power to constructively make a difference, none more so than youth themselves,” added Clark-Hattingh.
Clark-Hattingh made a special mention of one of the other award nominees, Sabah-based youth group Tonibung, or Friends for Village Development, in recognition of their work in renewable energy, which has improved living conditions in the rural communities in Sabah.
“The youth agenda is incredibly important here in the Asia Pacific,” said United Nations Resident Coordinator, Malaysia, Michelle Gyles-McDonnough, after the award ceremony.
“As we try to create a world that’s better for all, it’s essential to have the voice of the youth shaping the future.”
As our editor Ian Yee said during his acceptance speech – if you entrust and empower young people with technology, they will be disruptive, but only in the best way possible.
“These young people will challenge norms, defy tradition for tradition’s sake, tear down walls and build bridges that were once thought impossible. That’s what R.AGE is all about,” he said.
“And to every young Malaysian out there who is afraid to speak up, terrified of challenging the status quo, and tired of being told you’re just a self-entitled idealist like everyone else in your generation, I say this – If a bunch of crazy, wacky young journalists like us can be positively disruptive, you can too.”
All of us here at R.AGE would like to say a huge thank you to our readers and followers. We hope you continue to support our work, and if you haven’t followed us on Facebook yet, go to fb.com/thestarRAGE =)