Composed by Krishn Kaushik|New Delhi |
Updated: January 21, 2020 7: 22: 52 am
President Ram Nath Kovind with (from left) The Express Group CEO George Varghese, Chairman and Handling Director Viveck Goenka, Executive Director Anant Goenka, previous Chief Election Commissioner and jury member S Y Quraishi and winners of the Ramnath Goenka Quality in Journalism Awards in New Delhi on Monday. (Express picture by Praveen Khanna)
Underlining the role of debate in a democracy, President Ram Nath Kovind said Monday that the system is “significant” only if people are “well informed”. And quality in journalism, he said, “grants complete meaning to democracy”.
Dealing with the gathering as primary guest at the 14 th Ramnath Goenka Quality in Journalism Awards in New Delhi, the President said: “The quest for truth is, of course, tough and much easier stated than done. A democracy like ours deeply relies on the uncovering of facts and a willingness to dispute them.
Kovind was speaking after providing awards to 23 winners in 11 categories– throughout print, broadcast and digital– for outstanding work in 2018.
Cautioning against the risks posed by phony news and paid news, the President said: “In the din of the ‘breaking news’ syndrome that has taken in the media now, this basic principle of restraint and responsibility has actually been undermined considerably. Fake news has become a brand-new hazard, whose purveyors declare themselves as journalists and taint this honorable occupation.”
RNG Awards: Full text of President Ram Nath Kovind’s address
In this context, Kovind said, if journalism has to remain appropriate, “it has to recover its values of honesty and fairness”. “It needs to, 24 × 7, reinforce its compact with residents: that it will not bend, that it will always defend fact no matter what the effect, which it will remain committed to finding the reality without fear or favour,” he said.
Sushant Kumar Singh of The Indian Express(Print/Digital) won the award in Politics & Federal government classification. (Express picture by Abhinav Saha)
The President said that “innovation has actually considerably changed the nature of journalism”, “given rise to a brand-new breed of journalism” and “revived the old disputes about the status of realities and opinions, about reliability and credibility”.
” What is preferable is objectivity, which enables journalists to be open to realities, and present all sides of a picture. Fidelity to realities, digging for truth and keeping one’s lens clean and sharp is vital,” he stated.
Asking the event to “ponder for a minute” regarding what The Indian Express creator Ramnath Goenka would have done had he experienced a crisis of reliability on account of paid news or phony news, Kovind said: “He would never ever have enabled the scenario to go adrift and started measures for course correction for the whole media fraternity. There is no doubt that journalism has actually been travelling through an important phase.”
RNG awards: Here’s the full list of winners
Remembering famous journalist Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi who “compromised his life to douse the flames of hatred during communal violence in Kanpur,” the President quoted his words: “In justice, we will support both the rulers and the ruled however in oppression, we will be with neither. It is our wholehearted dream that various castes and communities live with shared respect and tolerance.”
Referring to “nowadays”, Kovind said reporters “tend to use many hats in the line of their task” and “often presume the role of a private investigator, a district attorney and a judge– all rolled into one”. “Their flexibility is admirable. That triggers me to ask if such a sweeping workout of power is accompanied by real accountability?” he said.
President Ram Nath Kovind throughout his address at the Ramnath Goenka Quality in Journalism Awards that was held in New Delhi on Monday. (Express photo: Praveen Khanna)
The President likewise lamented that stories “exposing fantastic social and financial inequalities are neglected” and replaced by trivia as some have “taken option to home entertainment in the name of news”.
Referring to Ramnath Goenka, in whose memory the Awards were set up in 2006, Kovind described him as “a matchless media personality who influenced the nation both prior to and after Independence”.
The President said it is an “elevating experience for a simple Ram Nath to take part in an occasion named after the redoubtable Ramnath whose stories of battle versus injustice and perseverance for truth are stuff of legend”.
” However what I do– and all of us need to– show Goenkaji is his enthusiastic nationalism. I ardently share his dream of a strong and flourishing India,” he stated.
Kovind concluded his speech by pricing quote Mahatma Gandhi, whom he called one of reporters’ greatest predecessors: “Always demand fact and prompt it with humility and grace … suppress your pen and tongue, exercise the strictest economy of words, however not with fact.”
In his welcome address, Viveck Goenka, Chairman of the Express Group, described the trajectory of Kovind’s public life in the last 40 years, and said it “passes throughout organizations that are the really lifeline of our democracy– from the campus to the courts, the legislature, the Raj Bhavan and now Rashtrapati Bhavan”.
” We couldn’t have had a primary visitor who better encapsulates the values we celebrate this evening,” he stated.
Describing the 14 th year of the Awards, Goenka stated: “This evening is a testament to the unwavering fact that despite all the sound around us, good journalism is alive, good journalism is well. What else describes that this year we had a record number of entries: 920, each one vetted and pitched as the finest work of a specific or a news organisation.”
Praising the winners, he said their stories “ask concerns with fairness and empathy, they take neither a No nor a Yes for a response but non-stop search for what lies in between, they are firm in their resolve to embrace intricacy, not reduce the story to either pro this or anti that”.
Anant Goenka, Executive Director of the Express Group, provided Kovind with a picture of the President. (Express picture by Abhinav Saha)
Anant Goenka, Executive Director of the Express Group, presented Kovind with a picture of the President drawn by Suvajit Dey, Illustrator, The Indian Express.
Amongst those present at the ceremony were Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, JD( U) leader K C Tyagi, CPI leader D Raja, noteworthy jurist Fali Nariman, previous ABVP nationwide organising secretary Sunil Ambekar, Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati, and Principal Director-General of Press Information Bureau Kuldeep Singh Dhatwalia.
In his address, Raj Kamal Jha, Chief Editor, The Indian Express, referred to the continuous protests as opening up a public square and developing an area that might look divided however was important for journalism because it was house to voices never heard previously.
Lost in the tu-tu mein-mein (on Faiz’s poem), Jha said, was the poet’s idea linking the primary and the tum.
In Reporting from Dispute Zones category, Mormukut Sharma of Doordarshan (Broadcast) won the award. (Express Photo by Abhinav Saha)
Administered by the Ramnath Goenka Memorial Structure, the Awards celebrate excellence in journalism, acknowledge guts and commitment and showcase the exceptional contributions of reporters from across the country.
This time, the winning entries covered a wide range of topics: From a series on sexual assault of children in villages to kids making their method through a river and strolling over a 20- feet pipeline to go to school; from how uranium mining affects local neighborhoods to an investigation into malfunctioning medical implants.