Press Council institutes awards to encourage journalism with responsibility

NEW DELHI: Disappointed by the continuing violations of the media codes, the Press Council of India has decided to institute its own ‘National Awards for Excellence in Journalism‘.

Among the categories under which the Press Council has instituted the awards are the Raja Rammohan Roy National Award for Excellence in Journalism, which would carry a cash component of Rs 100,000.

Other awards instituted by the Council related to Rural Journalism, Developmental Reporting, ‘Stree Shakti‘ and photo journalism which contain a cash component of Rs 50,000 each.

This is the first time that the Council has conceived the idea of giving awards to promote healthy practices amongst the media, according to Press Council chief Markandey Katju.

Katju said it is unfortunate that the importance of journalism has not been adequately understood by society. "Without great journalists, people will not get the information they require to form rational opinions, which is a sine qua non for a democracy," he added.

Katju also said India has produced great journalists like Raja RamMohan Roy, Nikhil Chakraborty, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi, and in more recent times P Sainath.

Katju has been severely critical of the media, saying a majority of them were of a low intellectual level.

The Press Council-instituted awards would be presented every year on the occasion of National Press Day, the Press Council said, adding that they had been issued with the ideal of encouraging "Freedom with responsibility".

Nomination is open to all journalists and freelancers of Indian nationality. The nomination has to be made by the editor of the newspaper/ news agency. Last date for sending nominations is 16 August, 2012.

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