The stories came from different parts of the country and underlined a range of issues — from J&K in the aftermath of the Burhan Wani killing to banks writing off crores of bad debts, from a campaign on the plight of weavers to the reality of segregated housing. But on Wednesday, December 20, as these stories come together on the same stage as part of the 12th edition of the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards 2017 in New Delhi, they will be celebrated for their ability to tell a story and do so with courage, credibility, accuracy and fairness. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, who will be the chief guest at the function, will hand over the awards to winners in 25 categories — both print and broadcast news — for outstanding work done in 2016. An eminent jury of former Supreme Court judge BN Srikrishna, HDFC Ltd Chairman Deepak Parekh, former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi and senior journalist Pamela Philipose went through over 800 entries to pick the winners for 2016.
“These are times that need independent-minded journalists. One of the important functions of these awards, as I see it, is to create, train and reward more young people for thinking independently on the issues of the day. I think it is time we brought the heart and the head back in journalism, which does not allow for the need to conform to those in power,” said Philipose on the relevance and the role of the awards. “I think people who went the extra mile and were prepared to look for the unusual, look for the hidden, the last person, those who were ready to go the last mile… That is what excited me,” she added. Quraishi said, “It’s always a difficult task to choose for the most prestigious media award. There were a large number of entries, each better than the other. I feel honoured to be a part of the process.”
The Express Group instituted the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards in 2006 as part of the centenary year celebrations of its founder, Ramnath Goenka. The awards aim to celebrate excellence in journalism, recognise courage and commitment and showcase the outstanding contributions of journalists from across the country. The most prestigious annual event in the Indian media calender is a recognition of the highest standards of journalism. Over the years, the winners have produced work – often in the face of political and economic pressures — that generates and sustains public trust in the media and impacts the lives of people.