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Ramnath Goenka Awards 2019: ‘Content will only be found at ground zero’

🔴 Administered by the Ramnath Goenka Memorial Foundation, the awardees are honoured at a physical event every year but the uncertainty of the pandemic has meant that the 2019 award winners will be celebrated in print and online over the next 15 days.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
December 23, 2021 4:56:03 am
Ramnath Goenka Awards 2019: ‘Content will only be found at ground zero’K G Suresh, Dr SY Quraishi , Tom Goldstein, Justice BN Srikrishna(L-R)

Originality of ideas, the rigour involved in reportage and the impact the stories have had on society – these are among the factors that the esteemed jury members kept in mind while picking the winners from among entries for the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism
Awards, 2019.

The winners of 2019 were chosen by an eminent jury comprising Justice BN Srikrishna, jurist and former Judge of the Supreme Court; Tom Goldstein, Professor and Dean, Jindal School of Journalism & Communication, O P Jindal Global University; Dr SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner; and K G Suresh, Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism & Communication.

Administered by the Ramnath Goenka Memorial Foundation, the awardees are honoured at a physical event every year but the uncertainty of the pandemic has meant that the 2019 award winners will be celebrated in print and online over the next 15 days.

The year under review factored in coverage in print, digital and broadcast media and categorised them under business and economy, politics, environment, science and technology, Invisible India, investigation, civic awareness, arts and culture, sports, photo journalism and reportage in Hindi and regional languages.
All jury members concluded that at a time when legitimate journalism is under attack, the winners stayed on their path despite challenges and held up the truth that is all too frequently suppressed.

Prof Tom Goldstein of the Jindal School of Journalism & Communication, OP Jindal Global University, was impressed by the variety and depth of the winners’ stories. “With Press freedom being challenged even in locations where such freedom has been taken for granted, I would urge all young journalists to stay as well informed as possible and embrace technological change,” he said. The one story he felt should be done now is to find answers to the question, “Does India’s robust democracy have a future?”

KG Suresh, Vice Chancellor, Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism & Communication, said the winners were proof that “journalism is not dead yet” in this country. He said, “Desktop journalism is no journalism. The Ramnath Goenka Award recognises real ground reporting. At the end of the day, content will only be found on Ground Zero. Threats will always be there. By being a journalist, you have already accepted that these things will happen.”

Contrary to perception, Suresh further believes that print media will not just live but continue to thrive. “The responsibility of fact-checking rests on the shoulders of journalists. People are coming back to print due to the reliability factor. Digital media is yet to establish that credibility,” he said. He also argued for an analysis of the “infodemic” — an unprecedented overdose of information — in rural areas, small towns and people who are semi-literate or illiterate. “Are our people equipped to handle the huge magnitude of information? And is that leading to socio, economic and political changes in the society?

There’s a lot of manipulation happening, “ he said.

Arguing for boldness and objectivity in investigative stories, Dr SY Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner, said, “In the World Press Freedom Index for 2020, India was ranked 140 out of 180 countries. This is a shame for the world’s largest democracy.” He felt that the media fraternity needs to introspect, feel embarrassed about being labelled as lapdogs of the establishment and defeat polarisation.

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