New Delhi: Indian Express Editor Raj Kamal Jha on Wednesday gave his vote of thanks at the 16th Ramnath Goenka award function held at New Delhi. Welcoming prominent personalities including chief guest for the evening Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Jha mentioned in his vote of thanks various burning issues the country is facing including the arrest of journalists under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
A total of 43 winners from the years 2019 and 2020, who could not be honoured earlier owing to the coronavirus pandemic, were felicitated this year at the event in New Delhi.
Jha: Supreme Court will remain the North Star..
Jha made references of issues and mentioned what privilege it was to have the honourable Chief Justice as the chief guest for the evening. Over the recent sealed cover letter by Centre incident at SC, Jha said, "there is absolutely nothing in a sealed cover. This is a vote of thanks but in the times we live in, I want to say there will be no vote – there will just be thanks here.”
Praising the CJI's outlook for the freedom of press he said it has given one and all faith that the Supreme Court will remain the North Star (reference to CJI's Jan speech)”
“For journalists and journalism, year after year, case after case, their starlight has illuminated the road ahead..that’s why, when the lights dim, when a reporter is arrested under a law meant for terrorists, when another is arrested for asking a question, when a university teacher is picked up for sharing a cartoon, a college student for a speech, a film star for a comment, or when a rejoinder to a story comes in the form of a police FIR – we turn to the North Star for its guiding light.”
Winners from various publications
Anand Choudhary from Dainik Bhaskar bagged the prestigious award in the category of 'Hindi journalism in print media' for exploring the dark underbelly of Rajasthan's villages in its three tribal districts where children can be bought for just Rs 50-Rs 150.
Jyoti Yadav and Bismee Taskin from The Print, a news portal, won the honour for their story on the migrant exodus across rural Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
In the 'broadcast (Hindi) journalism' category, the award went to Sushil Kumar Mohapatra from NDTV India for his story on how Haryana suddenly had the most number of cancer deaths in the country in 2017.
Ashutosh Mishra from Aaj Tak news channel won the award for his story on the bodies floating in the Ganga river during the pandemic in May 2021.
CJI addresses event
Addressing the event, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) applauded the profession of journalism and said, "I am tremendously impressed by the depth and breadth of the reportage that journalists in our country engage in." "To those journalists who have not won today - you are no less a winner in the game of life for yours is a noble profession," he added.
Reflecting on the professions of both law and journalism in his speech, the CJI said journalists and lawyers or judges like him share some things in common.
"Of course, persons of both professions are fierce believers of the aphorism that the pen is mightier than the sword. But, they also share the occupational hazard of being disliked by virtue of their professions - no easy cross to bear," he said.
"But members of both the professions keep at their daily tasks and hope that one day, the reputations of their professions will receive a makeover," he added.
Chairman and MD of The Indian Express Group, Viveck Goenka addresses event
Addressing the event, Chairman and Managing Director of The Indian Express Group, Viveck Goenka acknowledged the work of the reporters, photographers, cameramen and new producers of news channels during the pandemic.
"Tonight, we recognise their work and their commitment to our profession," he said, adding, "The pandemic was defeated by vaccines, while the 'infodemic' was defeated by old fashioned honest journalism." The jury for this edition of the awards included Justice (retired) B N Srikrishna, founding vice-chancellor and dean of O P Jindal Global University C Raj Kumar, former chief election commissioner S Y Quraishi and K G Suresh, vice chancellor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication.
(with PTI inputs)
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