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Friday, November 10, 2000

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B D Goenka awards presented

NEW DELHI, NOV 9: In an attempt to recognise excellence in journalism and set norms that would be worthy of emulation, the B.D. Goenka Foundation today awarded three eminent journalists, one for the year 1998 and two for 1999. The award consists of a citation, a trophy and Rs one lakh.

H K Dua, former editor of The Indian Express, The Hindustan Times and The Times of India and currently the press advisor to the Prime Minister, was chosen for this prestigious award for the year 1998. In their citation, the jury said that at a time when journalism was being systematically undermined in justification of marketing excesses it was Dua who dared to assert the editor's rights.

Dua in his acceptance speech said that for him awards were not an achievement but a reminder that it is important for professionals to subscribe and adhere to and promote certain values. ``One has to live up to the principles and values that the award exemplifies,'' adding that his 22 years at The Indian Express were his best. He also said that a newspaper has to serve the society and should be accountable to the people and must provide a voice to the voiceless.

Ramoji Rao and P Sainath were chosen for the year 1999, the former for his role in improving the status of the language press and the latter for highlighting to the world the life of the poorest districts in India.

The jury in its citation for Ramoji Rao, founder editor of Eenadu, Newsday and Eenadu television, said that Rao had pioneered the concept of district editions and had raised the circulation from 4,500 to 800,000 inspiring many Indian language newspapers to follow his example.

P Sainath was not present at the ceremony since he is currently in USA doing research on a book as an Eisenhower Exchange Fellow. However, a colleague, Sanjay Kapoor, accepted the award on his behalf and read out a message which Sainath had e-mailed him earlier in the day. Thanking the jury, Sainath said that such awards opened ``spaces for journalist.'' Sainath is the former deputy editor for Blitz and the former foreign editor for The Daily.

The B.D. Goenka award was established in 1979 by Ramnath Goenka to recognise the contributions made by individuals in building and furthering the cause of journalism. Speaking at the occasion M K Sonthalia, Managing Trustee of the BDG Foundation, said that the jury members have invariably been eminent jurists and media professionals who would ``never accept anything as second-best''.

The chief guest was N Vittal, Central Vigilance Commissioner, who said that it was the elite who set the way as they are followed by the masses, thus laying the responsibility on the fourth estate. Union Minister N Venkaiah Naidu too was present on the occasion.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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