Sikh Canadian television broadcast journalist, Prabjot Kaur Randhawa, whose journalistic work in the American media to highlight issues of crime, poverty, and justice, took the top prize at the World Sikh awards in London.
The prestigious ceremony for the Sikh awards 2013 were held at Hilton Park Lane, London on Saturday 9th November 2013 and recognized the pivotal achievements and contributions of the global Sikh community in a variety of fields ranging from business, media, and entertainment, to sport, charity, and education and received nominations from around the world.
The World Sikh Awards also presented British Prime Minister David Cameron a Special Recognition Award from the world Sikh community for his work with the Sikh community in India.
Acknowledging the award, PJ dedicated it to her late father, Sukhdev Singh Randhawa, and spoke passionately of his life and legacy, saying that “my father came to Canada more than forty years ago to start a life built on sacrifice, and hard work. His main goal was to educate his children- and in that he’s been successful. Although my father is not here to see how his hard work has paid off, I dedicate this award to his memory, and also thank my brother, sister and mother for their tireless support”.
In speaking of her passion for journalism, PJ stated: I am a journalist because my faith has given me the strength, courage, and purpose to pursue the truth between the headlines. On a daily basis, I have a chance to tell stories of hardship, adversity, and injustice…but also stories hope, accountability and justice. But with every story I tell, I never fail to remember the Sikh principals which have always guided me to keep an open heart and open ears to the people and issues I report on. It lends itself well to being objective and is invaluable when you’re telling sensitive stories about murder, crime, poverty and justice. I seek to bring out subtle and impactful truths on the subjects I report, and Sikhism has taught me no one should turn a blind eye to injustice. The media has a great power to cause harm, but my beliefs as a Sikh and as a trained journalist always lead me to put people first, instead of headlines”.
Randhawa, who was born in Winnipeg, relocated to The United States for her post-secondary education, which includes a Bachelors degree in communications and media as well as a Masters degree in Journalism from top-tier DePaul University in 2011 where she was the recipient of numerous excellence in Journalism scholarships. During her time in Chicago, she worked in some of the top news rooms, including The Chicago Tribune, FOX Chicago, WGN, and PBS as an associate producer which has enhanced her unique journalistic style and her aptitude for capturing the essence of a story.
Randhawa began her career in South Dakota where she was a morning news anchor and general assignment reporter for KOTA TV, an ABC affiliate television station based in Rapid City. During her time in South Dakota, Randhawa was able to focus on crime and court reporting – covering several death penalty trials and even reporting live from the middle a courthouse riot. In 2012, she made history in the by becoming the first Sikh morning news anchor in the American Midwest with her morning news program being broadcast in five states, including North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, and parts of Colorado during Good morning America.
Randhawa is currently the chief political correspondent at WIS TV, an NBC television station based in Columbia, South Carolina. Her primary area of concentration includes covering issues that have a political or statewide relevance with a special emphasis on issues of crime, social justice, religious freedom, and state politics. Her reports are shared among five Raycom Media television stations throughout the Southeastern United States, including North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia with a total viewership in the millions.
The judges in awarding the award said “they were impressed with the range of achievements by Randhawa after having thoroughly reviewed her work and being impressed by her commitment to the journalistic domain”.
In response to the World Sikh awards being held in London, London Mayor Boris Johnson said, “I consider London to be the most multicultural city in the world, and have seen first-hand the hard work, dedication and religious strength that sits at the heart of everything the Sikh community do. Sikhs are a credit to this city and bring pride and respect where ever they go in the world through their actions, deeds and unique identity”.
Acknowledging his award, British Prime Minister David Cameron stated: “It is a tremendous honour to receive this award and I’d like to say a big thank you for the privilege.” He added: “These awards are all about highlighting the very best of the Sikh faith both here in Britain and abroad, and I want to congratulate all those who are being recognised for their contribution.”
This year, the gala ceremony was hosted by former Mayoral advisor Mr Kulveer Ranger and FM radio DJ Neev with over 800 guests including international dignitaries, politicians, public figures, Olympians, and celebrities.
Other winners at The Sikh Awards included world renowned Ophthalmologist Dr. Harminder Singh Dua, who is the chair and professor of ophthalmology at the University Hospital Nottingham as well as president of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and editor-in-chief of the British Journal of Ophthalmology. Harpal Singh Saggu received the Sikh Business Award. Saggu operates ‘Synergy Group’ which has an annual turnover of USD 200 million and over 4,000 employees. Jatinder Singh Durhailay, 25, from Ilford, who won the People’s Choice Award. The artist’s work has been exhibited around the world, including at the Tate Modern at the National Army Museum. Harpreet Kaur won the Sikh Businesswoman Award. She was only 11-year-old when she began investing in the stock market. Kaur is the founder of GICF Group, which consists of GICF Education, Finance, Productions and Soch Trust.