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Sunday, February 16, 2020

RNG awards: In black, white, grey

From stories of those who never returned after a riot to uncovering rising instances of sexual assault on minors, from news breaks to those that broke the mould, the winners of the 2018 Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism stuck to the basics while telling stories simply, factually

By: Express News Service | Updated: February 6, 2020 1:22:22 pm
rng awards, rng awards list, rng awardee list, indian express President Ramnath Kovind at the event. (Express Photo)

President Ram Nath Kovind, who graced the event said, “The quest for truth is easier said than done. But it must be pursued. A democracy like ours deeply relies on the uncovering of facts and a willingness to debate them. Democracy is meaningful only when the citizen is well-informed… If journalism has to remain relevant, it has to retain its sense of mission, reclaim its values of honesty and fairness Ram Nath Kovind, President of India.”


Investigative Reporting

Print/ Digital

Detailing the pain of the victims  of J&J’s faulty hip implants

Teena Thacker


“The problem with acetabular surface replacement was that it involved additional painful operations, which left some people permanently disabled. When I got to know about this, I started chasing the story right away. The task was challenging because the victims had lost all hope. However, the story set the ball rolling and the government swung into action.”


Are donations made through poll bond scheme really anonymous?

Poonam Agarwal


“The electoral bond scheme was floated with the promise that the identity of the donor would not be revealed. The story exposes the presence of an alphanumeric code, which is visible only under ultraviolet rays. This defeats the purpose of the scheme. Even paper currency notes do not have features that are not visible to the naked eye. So are electoral bonds more important than currency notes?”



A seven-part series on rising instances of sexual assault on minor girls

Diti Bajpai


“Every 15 minutes, a minor girl in India faces sexual assault. In rural areas, these crimes are common and do not evoke outrage. The objective of the series was to raise awareness about the issue. Finding out such incidents in rural India was the foremost challenge. Victims and their families were unwilling to talk because they had lost confidence in the media, police and the political system.”


The 15 ‘missing’ who never returned home after 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots

Shadab Ahmad Moizee

“As many as 15 people are considered ‘missing’ since the 2013 riots. Their families, however, claim they were murdered. The challenge was to trace these families after five years. Many people told us that their relatives were killed in front of their eyes but they had no proof as the bodies were burnt by the rioters. The story is of these 15 missing people who never returned home after the riots.”

Regional languages

Print/ Digital (bengali)

Stories of trafficking told through lives of women of a nomadic tribe

Anwesha Banerjee

Ei Samay

“The stories were about the Prerna tribe, which practises inter-generational prostitution. When I visited their homes in Najafgarh (Delhi), I was asked to leave by their husbands, who act as pimps. These tribal women, who are married off at the age of 13, are forced into prostitution after their first baby. Later, the husbands threatened me, following which I had to return to Kolkata.”

Broadcast (Malayalam)

Chronicling devastation in Kerala caused by the August 2018 floods

Saneesh T K

Manorama News

“The 2018 floods was one of the worst natural disasters Kerala had faced in the past 100 years. Many families in Wayanad lost their relatives and properties. The objective was to tell the story in the form of a travelogue. During my travel, I found that people lived in fear of snakes and other animals in their water-filled homes. The biggest challenge was to locate victims as mobile phones were not working.”

Environment, Science & Technology Reporting


A two-part investigation on the use of at least 99 lethal chemicals as pesticides

Mridula Chari & Vinita Govindarajan


“The objective was to find out how complex rules and an opaque regulatory system allow the use of at least 99 chemicals banned in other countries as pesticides in India,” said Chari. “One of the biggest challenges was to sift through years of government paperwork to understand the regulatory system and procedure,” said Govindarajan.


How uranium mining has impacted lives in Jadugoda, Jharkhand

Sarvapriya Sangwan

BBC News Hindi

“Jadugoda has seen uranium mining since 1969 and the nuclear waste has affected the health of its residents. Although the issue has been covered by the media often, nothing has happened on the ground. As a result, the locals did not want to talk to us. Convincing them was a hard task. However, the person without whom the story would have been difficult to do is cameraman Deblin Roy.”

Uncovering India Invisible


Getting to school in Morni, Haryana, walking over a 20-ft-high pipeline

Hina Rohtaki

The Indian Express

“In the absence of a bridge, children in Morni walk over a 20-foot-high pipeline to reach their school. People of 59 other villages too take the same path. There was pressure from the administration to stop reporting on the issue. But soon, this became a national matter. The state government later laid the foundation stone for the bridge, which is likely to be completed in the next two months.”


In the name of the cow: Probing nexus between police, politics

Asmita Nandy & Meghnad Bose


“Our documentary The Making of Lynchistan: Killing in the Name of the Cow is an explainer on the nexus between the police, politician and the gaurakshaks,” said Nandy. “We spoke to gaurakshaks, who told us how these attacks are carried out. Sitting in front of people who proudly claim to have resorted to violence is intimidating,” said Bose.

Politics and Government


For some of the biggest breaks — from the Rafale talks to the Naga Accord

Sushant Kumar Singh

The Indian Express

“Stories about institutions like the CBI and Supreme Court threw light on their functioning, forcing the government to react. These also led to greater transparency in how judges were appointed to the Supreme Court, and the monitoring of the CBI. These stories were able to set the agenda. It was about holding those in power accountable.”


A show on the nuts and bolts of the giant election machinery

Moumita Sen & Shikha

India Today TV

“An election is not just about who we intend to vote for. There is so much more in between. We compared the present with earlier times,” said Sen. “One of the challenges was that whenever there is a camera, people tend to be politically correct. It was also a task to string the narrative together because people were talking about different elections,” said Shikha.

Reporting from Conflict Zones


Away from the State vs Maoist binary, capturing lives in the jungles of Bastar

Dipankar Ghose


“The aim was to explore how violence affects polls and people who are caught in the crossfire. In most cases, reporting gets caught between the binary — the State and Maoist. But even in conflict zones, one finds people who believe in bringing out the truth. The challenge is to convince them that the objective of the media is making their voices heard.”


Covering elections in face of death

Dheeraj Kumar, Mormukut Sharma  & (Late) Achyuta Nanda Sahu


“I spoke to him (Sahu) on the day of the incident. He told me they were visiting an area that had Naxalites… I heard of the attack on TV,” said Himanchali, wife of Sahu, who died when the DD team he was part of came under Naxal firing. Sharma and Kumar say they wanted to go to Nilavaya in Dantewada as it had not voted in 20 years. “About 1 km from the place, we came under fire. As Sahu and three soldiers were killed, I thought I should cover the gunfight so that the nation would know what had happened if we all were killed,” said Sharma.

Business & Economic Journalism


On diplomacy, and the economics and politics of sanctions

Nidhi Verma


“The year 2018-19 was a difficult one for India with rising crude oil prices and pressure from the United States to suspend imports from Iran. I got to know that India had placed an order for oil from Iran and this indicated that sanctions were going to be placed and that some relaxation was being given to India.”



Understanding Emergency by looking back at Independence

Gyan Prakash

“The idea to write the book came in 2011 when I saw youths at the India Against Corruption protests. This reminded me of the youth movement of the 1970s with J P (Narayan) at the helm. As I worked on it, I realised that the dominant interpretation was that the movement was a complete aberration from normal politics. But the more I looked into it, it seemed that there was a story of continuity.”

Civic Journalism

Print/ Digital

Investigating UP government’s claim of having controlled encephalitis

Aniruddha Ghosal

“I looked at information that was publicly available on the incidence of AES and JE in Gorakhpur, and the numbers didn’t add up. This could have also been an instance of data being entered incorrectly. Hence, upon reaching Gorakhpur, the challenge was to be able to find doctors who knew what was happening to the cases.”

Photo Journalism


For zooming into places and faces away from headlines

C Suresh Kumar

The Times of India

“Manjuvirattu, a bull-taming sport, is played in Sivaganga district, about 70 km from Madurai. The sport takes place in an open area or empty fields after harvest is completed. I went to a village in Sivaganga, where more than 50,000 people were sitting on a hill to attend the sport. I thought of composing my photos with the bulls and the crowd.”

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