Five journalists from across the country were recognised for their “exemplary work” by The Statesman group for their reportage on rural affairs and the environment.
At the annual Statesman Awards for Rural Reporting held in Kolkata on Saturday, Smita Nair of The Indian Express received the prestigious Cushrow Irani Prize for Environmental Reporting for her series titled “Coal Burying Goa” published in The Indian Express in October, 2017. The series looked at how the transport of huge amounts of coal from Karnataka to Goa, in violation of environmental norms, was putting at risk habitations and ecology.
For rural reporting, while Karthikeyan Hemalatha of the Firstpost won the first prize, Ankita Anand of Eclectic North East won the second prize. Lucknow-based online and print journalist Puja Awasthi and Radheshyam Jadhav of The Times of India jointly got the third prize.
“The number of entries this year was significantly higher than in previous years, that the entries came from all over the country and, as the judges noted, the quality of reports submitted for consideration was very high. At a time when mass media is being castigated for failing to perform its tasks with courage and impartiality, the enhanced participation and the higher quality of entries is both a cause for satisfaction and a reason for optimism. The press in India, even if it isn’t kicking as hard as some would expect, seems to be alive and doing reasonably well,” said Editor and Managing Director of The Statesman, Ravindra Kumar, while presenting the awards.