It was a night when news took a backseat. To newsmakers,journalists and politicians. Entrances were made,awards were won,and applause rang out as Indias finest journalists were honoured at the sixth Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards,presided over by the Chief Justice of India
P Sathasivam on Tuesday.
The luminous halls at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi sparkled with conversations,cheer and bonhomie. Among those spotted were senior BJP leader LK Advani,Finance Minister P Chidambaram,Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar,Law and Communications and Information and Techonology Minister Kapil Sibal,Commerce Minister Anand Sharma,Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari,Power Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia,Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan,Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda,CBI chief Ranjit Sinha,Attorney General G E Vahanvati,legal luminary Fali Nariman,economist Lord Meghnad Desai and former Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi.
On stage,presenters shared anecdotes and laughs with the audience as 29 of Indias finest journalists received awards. The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta joked when CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury came up to present an award. This is the first time a Communist is giving out cash to a journalist. In the same spirit,Yechury shot back,Im giving other peoples money. Paying tribute to The Indian Express founder Ramnath Goenka,New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah said,India is a country that will succeed. It will only move ahead. But I want to tell you,Advaniji,please hold secularism dearly.
Josy Joseph of The Times of India won the coveted Journalist of the Year Award (Print) for his expose of the Adarsh Cooperative Housing Society scandal and Ravish Kumar of NDTV India took home the Journalist of the Year Award (Broadcast) for his sensitive,serious and well-researched primetime shows.
As the award ceremony ended,the many-headed beast called social media took centre stage,as panelists debated on Whos afraid of social media?,moderated by Seema Chishti of The Indian Express and Sagarika Ghose of CNN-IBN. The engaging debate was made livelier when Quraishi raised the issue of protecting the anonymous,citing the case of the two Palghar girls arrested in the Facebook-Thackeray row.
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