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Governor calls for legislation to protect journalists from attacks

April 27, 2016

Governor compliments posthumous award for bravery to Shahjahanpur journalist Jagendra Singh, T N Ninan given Lifetime Achievement Award, Ravish Kumar gets Journalist of the Year Award, A total of 27 journalists awarded in Mumbai Press Club’s RedInk Award for Excellence in Indian Journalism – 2016

MUMBAI/ The Governor of Maharashtra C H Vidyasagar Rao complimented the Mumbai Press Club for awarding a coveted RedInk Award for bravery in Journalism to Jagendra Singh of Shahjahanpur Samachar. He said Jagendra died in the quest for truth, and his sacrifice should never be forgotten. Likening the sacrifice of Jagendra Singh, who was set on fire and died on 8 June last year, the Governor drew a parallel to the fearless and famous journalist, Shoebullah Khan, who had to pay with his life on August 22, 1948 for demanding the merger of Hyderabad state with the Indian Union and for writing against the Nizam in his daily ‘Imroze’.

Before he was killed Shoebullah’s hand was cut off by Razakars, Governor Rao said. “We have forgotten such journalists who have contributed to the freedom struggle,” he added. 

Jagendra Singh was conferred the ‘RedInk Veer Patrakar Puraskar’ posthumously by the governor who handed over a trophy and a scroll of honour to Jagendra Singh’s 18-year old daughter, Diksha Singh.

Jagendra ran a Facebook page called Shahjahanpur Samachar, wherein he exposed the local MLA and UP minister for Dairy Development, Ram Murti Verma for his links with illegal sand mining. He was killed allegedly at the behest of the minister by setting him on fire on 1 June 2015. His dying declaration was recorded as an FIR. He died on 8 June 2015 from burn injuries. A writ petition filed by journalist Mudit Mathur from Lucknow is pending before the Supreme Court.

The Governor of Maharashtra also called for strong legislation to protect journalists from attacks and violence. “I think the response from the government and law enforcement agencies to acts of intimidation must be strong”, he told a large gathering of nearly 1,000 journalists assembled for the RedInk Awards for Excellence in Journalism in Mumbai on Tuesday night.

Calling for introspection, the Governor added: “New media can afford to lose its credibility, but the old and trusted print media which has a reputation of ages behind it must not lose credibility.” 

The much-awaited event in the personal calendar of journalists – the Mumbai Press Club’s RedInk Award for Excellence in Indian Journalism – 2016 were presented on Tuesday evening at a glittering awards night here with veteran business journalist T N Ninan being conferred with the Lifetime Achievement Award and Ravish Kumar the Journalist of the Year Award.

T.N. Ninan, Chairman & Editorial Director of Business Standard, was chosen for the RedInk Lifetime Achievement Award for his extensive contribution to business journalism through good editorial leadership he provided over the years to a host of publications. Receiving the award, Ninan said there were serious challenges today for running a viable media business. "The minute one wants to charge on the website, your traffic goes to free media. If you raise the cover price of a newspaper - we are the cheapest in the world - you are seen to have a fundamental disadvantage in the market."

For the journalist, his words of advice were: "We (the media) need to raise the profile of what we do, raise the credibility of what we do so that we are proud of what we do."

The coveted RedInk Journalist of the Year Award was given to TV anchor and NDTV India’s senior Executive Editor, Ravish Kumar, for his consistent and down to earth reporting on politics and issues that concern the common man.

Piyush Goyal, Guest of Honour at the event and Minister of state (Independent charge) for power, coal, new and renewable energy, said that it is important for the journalist community to see that credible data is being reported after this had undergone verification. "Correctly sanitised data and information are very important... correct data points are the main stay of a report," the minister pointed out adding that at every level of media "data crunching" and "accuracy of that data" is important. 

Goyal said constructive journalism had helped his ministry to a great extent. For example, the power ministry discovered that a number of villages were uninhabited only from a newspaper report. When government officials investigated, it found that there were at least 400 villages that had been abandoned.

The RedInk Start-up of the Year Award was given to TheWire.in, a news and public affairs website that has experimented with various forms of Citizen Journalism with telling effect.

Apart from these four, awards were also given in the 10 various categories.  This makes the RedInk awards the biggest in the country where journalists are awarded by the peers. “This year the RedInk team received more than 1,500 entries across categories – a significant jump from the previous year that shows the popularity, reach and credibility of the awards among the fraternity. The curators and jury members had gone through a tedious but thrilling exercise before arriving at the final list,” said Gurbir Singh, Chairman of Mumbai Press Club.

The Principal Media Partner of the Redink Awards is STAR India and is supported by the Aditya Birla Group, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, Zee Entertainment, Eros International, Indiabulls Housing Finance, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, 63 Moons and JSW Group.

In a period when journalists and journalism are under severe threat and pressures from violence, vested interest and hashtag writing, the theme for the Redink Awards-2016 is: ‘TO RISE ABOVE IT ALL’.

It was also an evening where much introspection was done in respect of the profession. In a fast-paced panel discussion: ‘WHO SHOT THE MESSENGER’,  veteran journalist and columnist Shobhaa De, Ravish Kumar of NDTV, SiddharthVaradarajan, Founding Editor, The Wire, SuchetaDalal, managing editor of Moneylife and Minhaz Merchant of Business Barons debated the burning issue.

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