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Indian democracy owes much to independent and responsible press: MoS I&B

MUMBAI: Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Col Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore has said that the print media has been a great enabler of citizens’ rights, and that the success of Indian democracy owed much to the independent and responsible press which had played a crucial role in educating and empowering the masses.

Journalists have acted like soldiers using the weapons of pen and newspaper columns, Rathore stated, while delivering his address at a function to commemorate National Press Day organised by Press Council of India (PCI).

He further reiterated the government’s commitment to protect, preserve and promote the freedom of the press. The minister called upon the journalists to maintain professional integrity and ethical standards in their pursuit of truth.

Rathore also released a souvenir highlighting the role of the PCI in ensuring fair practices of journalism.

Also speaking at the event, Minister of State (IC) for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, and former I&B minister Prakash Javadekar said that freedom of the press is sacrosanct in a democracy and that this freedom comes with responsibilities.

“Media has to facilitate active discussions and debates on various issues of national importance,” Javadekar added.

Former Chief Justice of India Justice Venkatachaliah, who was the chief guest at the function, said that the press in India has a larger role to preserve, restore and propagate democratic and humanitarian values balancing them with changes in technology and perceptions of freedom.

The function also witnessed the National Awards for Excellence in Journalism being conferred by the PCI in different categories on print journalists for their outstanding contributions in various fields.

The categories of awards included Rural Journalism, Developmental Reporting, Stree Shakti (Women Empowerment), Single News Picture, Photo Feature and Urdu Journalism.

A total of eleven journalists and four photo journalists were chosen by the PCI for the awards.

In the Rural Journalism category, the winners were Corenlius Minz of Khabar Mantra, Jhakhand, and R Samban of Deshabhimani, Malappuram. The two journalists jointly received the award which also carried a cash prize of Rs 25,000 each.

The certificate of creative excellence with a cash award of Rs 12,500 each was also jointly shared by M Shajil Kumar of Malayala Manorama and Uttam Sengupta of Outlook.

In the Developmental Reporting category, the award went to Kumar Sambhav Shrivastava of Down to Earth. It carried a cash prize of Rs 50,000.

The certificate of creative excellence in this category was jointly shared by Rahi Gaikwad of The Hindu and Neha Bhatt of Outlook with a cash prize of Rs 12,500 each.

In the Stree Shakti category, the award of Rs 50,000 was given to Priyadarshani Sen of Outlook and the certificate of creative excellence with a cash prize of Rs 25,000 went to Davis Paynadath of Deepika Daily, Kerala.

The award in photo journalism (single news picture) category went to Neeraj Priyadarshi of the Indian Express (Rs 50,000) and Kamal Kishore of PTI in certificate of creative excellence (Rs 25,000).

In photo journalism category (photo feature), the award (Rs 50,000) was received by Piyal Adhikary of European Pressphoto Agency. Ravi Kanojia of the Indian Express was chosen for certificate of creative excellence (Rs 25,000).

In Urdu journalism category, the award (Rs 25,000 each) was shared by Wasimul Haque of The Daily Akhbare-E-Mashriq, Delhi, and Muhammad Atif of Sahafat, Delhi.