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FINANCIAL STABILITY A MUST FOR PRESS FREEDOM: PRESS COUNCIL CHAIRMAN

Mark Tully, recipient of the RedInk Lifetime Achievement Award, says Radio journalism should be resurrected in India

32 journalists receive RedInk Awards

MUMBAI/ To ensure freedom for the news media, it was necessary to ensure the financial stability of journalists, and job security. It is only if a journalist is financially secure that he can do his job with peace of mind, said Justice C K Prasad, chairman of the Press Council of India (PCI).

Giving his closing remarks as the chief guest at the ‘National Red Ink Awards for Excellence in Journalist’ on Friday, Justice Prasad said it was not fair on the part of media owners to run down the appointment of Wage Boards for media employees. Other industries such as cement and pharmaceuticals are all governed by the Minimum Wages Act, where such law does not exist for newspaper employees, he pointed out.

 “An editor returning to his office only to receive a pink slip did not augur well for the free press,” he said, adding that he had examined the balance sheet of many media groups and found the profits they were making could easily support the payment of Wage Board salaries.

Earlier, he emphasized that the job of the Press Council of India is to ensure the freedom of the press, and “we are not here to regulate the media.”

Sir Mark Tully, who worked for over 2 decades as the Bureau head of BBC in the subcontinent, received the RedInk Award for Lifetime Achievement’. In his acceptance speech, Tully said he grew up as radio reporter, and he would always prefer radio to television. Radio broadcasts gave a personal touch as “the listener gets the feeling that the news reader or reporter talks to him directly,” he said and recalled how at a village gathering in Uttar Pardesh, people greeted him as “a friend”.

Sir Mark, who was deported during the emergency, said for journalists credibility was everything, and in today’s age they must learn to grapple with fake news. Just a small crosscheck and verification of facts would help in giving the right information to the society. He said public service broadcasting was a bolstering factor of a free press. Citing the BBC as an example, Tully said in his 40 years of working for the organisation, he could not recall a single instance where he had been asked to change or drop his news dispatch.

Faye D’souza, executive editor of TV channel Mirror Now, who was given the ‘Journalist of the year’ Award said her reporting was built on covering the issues that affected the common man. Focusing on credible news without much antics helped her channel stand out in the crowd and make a mark for itself.

“I stick my neck out to report not what politicians are saying but what hits the man on the street, even as the entire media could be busy with irrelevant breaking news,” she said.

A high power panel consisting of Vijay Darda, Chairman, Lokmat Group, Raghav Bahl, Founder & Chairman, Quintillion Media, Anant Goenka, Executive Director, The Indian Express Group, and Samir Patil, founder and CEO of Scroll Media, debated the important and relevant issue of: Is there a business in News Media’.  Senior Journalist and Founder of IndiaSpend.Org  Govindraj Ethiraj anchored the panel discussion.

Most of the panellists agreed that news media was not a great business but there was money to be made. Raghav Bahl stressed that as the scenario shifted to digital platforms, a healthy business in niche areas was not difficult; however as the business scaled up along with the number of brands, the challenges also increased. He emphasized that the mandatory legal requirement in broadcasting for 51 percent Indian ownership had become a bottleneck to expansion. It was not a level playing field as the law did not apply to other areas like print or digital.

The Secretary of the Mumbai Press Club, Dharmendra Jore, in his welcome speech said this year the RedInk Awards had received a record over-2,000 entries. Gurbir Singh, the convenor of the Awards Committee, said accusing the media of being anti-establishment was foolish as by its very nature news media will always be anti-establishment irrespective of the party in power.

Awards were given away in 11 competitive categories and 5 special categories. As many as 32 journalists received trophies and Rs 1 lakh as cash prizes. The RedInk Award for ‘A Media Start-up that is making a difference’ was given to IndiaSpend.org, for its initiative in developing data journalism in India.

 

For details: www.mumbaipressclub.com,

T : @mumbaipressclub

F : /mumbaipressclub

 

Final Winners of Redink Awards – 2018:

 

Business & Economy

Print    :           SruthisagarYamunan, Scroll.In

Kabir Agarwal, The wire

TV       :           Sushil Kumar Mohapatra, NDTV India

 

Crime

Print    :           Santosh Singh, The Indian Express

TV       :           DeepuRevathy, Manorama News

 

Environment

Print    :           T. R. Vivek, Newslaundry.com

Aruna Chandrasekhar, The Caravan

TV       :           Sushil Chandra Bahuguna, NDTV India

 

Health & Wellness

Print    :           Menaka Rao, Scroll.in

 

Human Rights

Print    :           Radhika Iyengar, Al Jazeera Media Network

TV       :           Shone Satheesh, Scroll.in

 

Lifestyle & Entertainment

Print    :           Shamik Bag, Mint

 

Politics

Print    :           RikyntiMarwein, Highland Post

TV       :           Jainendra Kumar, ABP News

 

Science & Innovation

Print    :           R Ramachandran, Frontline

TV       :           Jugal R Purohit, India Today

 

Sports

Print    :           Shail Desai, Mint

TV       :           Smitha Nair, Scroll.In

 

The Big Picture

Winner            :           Vinod Kumar T, The New India Express

Runner up 1     :           Indranil Mukherjee, Agence France Presse

Runner up 2     :           SibuBhuvanendran, MalayalaManorama

 

Women Empowerment & Gender Equality

Print                :           Leena Gita Reghunath (Surabhi Kanga), The Caravan

:           Shalini Nair, The Indian Express

TV                   :           Moumita Sen &Ruchira Sharma, India Today

 

Media Start-up of the year    :           IndiaSpend.com

 

Mumbai Star Reporter          :           Yadu Joshi, Lokmat &

                                                            Chaitanya Marpakwar, Mumbai Mirror

 

Journalist of the Year             :           Faye D’Souza, Mirror Now

 

Lifetime Achievement          :           Sir William Mark Tully

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