Last week, 13th edition of the ‘Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Awards’ were presented in New Delhi. When Times group & The Hindu were bowing in front of Indira Gandhi during National Emergency (1975-1977), late Ramnath Goenka and his work during the Emergency was like a lamp in dark times. But for all his work during Censorship, he was harshly penalised by Indira. As soon as censorship was lifted, Goenka’s newspapers published a series of exposés on forced sterilizations, mass resettlements of the extreme poor, widespread corruption, and political arrests. After Ramnath Goenka died in 1991, bitter property dispute broke out among his family members. It caused division between Indian Express & The New Indian Express, where former is run by his grandson Vivek Goenka.
Anyway, crux of the story is, present form of Indian Express is completely different from the one which was run by legendary Ramnath Goenka. In recent times their credibility has reached rock bottom due to offering open support to terrorists ( ‘And they hanged Yakub’), hiring abusive Congress trolls like Amaresh Mishra, writing other misleading headlines to help Chinese propaganda & spreading various fake news. So, it was too much to expect from them to present awards to journalists who are doing actual journalism. We will see major winners of present year’s award & expose their shoddy Journalism :
1) In HINDI category, Abhisar Sharma, ABP News: For driving home the horror of Encephalitis in East UP
SwarajyaMag’s Swati Goel Sharma had done detailed report on same issue. In her marathon report, she put facts & numbers showing drastic drop in fatality rate. In 2017, 18.62 per cent JE (Japanese encephalitis ) patients died compared to 28.91 per cent in 2016, fatality rate of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) saw the sharpest drop in five years. Compared to the previous year when 15 per cent failed to survive, 2017 saw a significant improvement with 12.6 per cent.
Now, Abhisar Sharma got the award for report on exact same topic, just because his report was showing Yogi government in bad light via his usual hate mongering. Whereas Swati’s report was never going to be considered because it was showing improved data. Actually in her report, she had narrated the efforts by previous Governments also. Eg. the first-ever vaccination drive was organised in 2005 after the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led government came under fire for the region’s worst outbreak – killing 1,344 out of 5,737 affected children. She also put fact that in 2011 Central Government run by UPA had made JE vaccine a part of its universal immunisation programme after enough states complained of the epidemic. Only thing was, implementation on ground was poor & Yogi government learned from their mistakes and brought the results in short time.
But, Indian Express group doesn’t want to consider someone for award who has done even mild praise of Yogi Government in her detailed & studied report which had covered incidents in this issue from 1978.
Abhisar Sharma has past history of spreading fake news. His own employer, The Wire, deleted video of his embarrassing ‘investigation’ into the Amritsar Train Tragedy. He & his Income-Tax officer wife have been also accused of taking bribes from NDTV. He is also notoriously unfamous for abusing private persons on Twitter.
— Rishi Bagree 🇮🇳 (@rishibagree) April 10, 2018
2) Next Award was FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT COVERING INDIA : Annie Gowen, The Washington Post: For her report on the life of a teenaged pellet victim, a cricketer, in Kashmir
Story for which Annie Gowen won the award, is out & out pro-seperatist propaganda. In her story she has repeatedly mentioned how pellet gun ‘victims’ are inspiring youth in valley to join Terrorist forces. This was aligned with Indian Express’ pro-seperatist stand, so it isn’t much surprising she got award for this story.
Annie Gowen has clear anti-Hindu bias & racism reflected from her following tweet against Angry Hanuman Poster
— Annie Gowen (@anniegowen) July 11, 2018
She was also caught inciting Hindu-Muslim division, by using fake data tracker of IndiaSpend.
— Swati Goel Sharma (@swati_gs) November 14, 2018
3) POLITICAL REPORTING
Sushant Kumar Singh, The Indian Express: For his inside reports on strategic affairs, including the Doklam crisis
Indian Express deputy editor Sushant Singh was forerunner in (along with Shekhar Gupta’s The Print), in maligning India’s image during Doklam crisis.
Bhutan acknowledges that Doklam is a Chinese area: Officialhttps://t.co/w8bZOXE2h0
— The Indian Express (@IndianExpress) August 8, 2017
The article opens with “In a stunning -but unsubstantiated-claim, a senior Chinese official said today that Bhutan has acknowledged that the Doklam area where the Indian and Chinese troops are engaged in a standoff does not belong to it.”
First, the report itself said that it was ‘stunning but unsubstantiated’ claim. Source of this report has been an unnamed Official. Also, Indian Express headline made it sound as if some “official” from Bhutan had said it, for it said “Bhutan acknowledges…”. But the truth was that it was claimed so by a Chinese official, which most probably was a part of their propaganda based on lies or half-truths.
Following all the outrage and slamming, The Indian Express has finally added the word “Chinese” before official in the article, though it still remains a mystery why they needed to lie. Pakistani Defense officials & Congress spokespersons like Sanjay Jha had shared this story. Also, at that time Rahul Gandhi had done secret meeting with Chinese officials. So, it was evident that Indian Express was helping Congress & even China with their reporting. And they have given Award to themselves for such bogus reporting which had potential to cause harm to India’s interest.
Recently, in his book, Sushant Singh was caught plagiarizing content from old articles of other authors.
4) BUSINESS & ECONOMIC JOURNALISM
Team Reuters, Thomson Reuters: For a series of reports on a secret operation inside a tobacco giant’s campaign to subvert the global anti-smoking treaty
On 11th December, Reuters published a story citing ‘government sources’ that the Narendra Modi government is “likely to announce a loan waiver worth billions of dollars”. It was ‘source’ based story & was later proved fake. It was planted to give cover to Congress’ unrealistic promises of farm waivers. Though, story for which Team Reuters won award is different, point here is Indian Express offering an awards to habitual fake news peddlers, which helps Pakistan, Congress, China etc
Compare all this with, SwarajyaMag or Opindia who have except odd mistake cent percent record of factual & accurate reporting. Even popularity wise, their reporters like Swati_gs & Unsubtledesi are 10-15 times more popular among than likes of Shekhar Gupta, Faye D’souza, Rohini Singh.
Anyways, all real Journalists give two hoots to such sham awards. But only tragedy here is such these awards are presented to fake news peddlers on names of eminent personalities like Ram Goenka who devoted his whole life for honest & courageous Journalism.