There are few occasions when an award or recognition honours the right person. In a world where corporates, interest groups, religious heads and corrupt politicians enjoy clear sway over the media, it’s indeed a rarity to see serious public interest journalism that speak for the underprivileged get recognized and honoured. Most of the awards and fellowships in the field of mass media are controlled by powerful corporates and they normally reach only those who are subservient and pliable.
It’s in this context, the committee that chose NDTV’s Ravish Kumar for the 2019 Ramon Magsaysay Award deserves applause and appreciation. Initiated in 1957, it’s the highest honour in Asia that celebrates the memory and the standards in leadership set by the third Philippine President after whom the award has been named. Every year, individuals or organizations in Asia who engage in selfless service, and are transformative influencers in the manner of the late Philippine president, are awarded.
Like elsewhere in the world, in India too, responsible journalism requires enormous courage these days. Often, journalists lose their fighting spirit under threat, intimidation and appeasement and simply surrender to the ruling elites. Newspapers and television channels desist from engaging in their role of critically examining government programs and policies. The all-pervasive crony capitalism has succeeded in reducing journalists to the role of stenographers, with no ability to critically engage with issues and events.
While public life at the national capital and in Haryana has almost come to a grinding halt owing to the violence perpetrated by supporters of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, ‘God’s own country’ is in the mood of retrospection. A CBI special court had found the self-styled ‘Godman’ guilty of raping two followers in his Ashram in 2002.
Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh’s visits to Kerala and his varied connection with the high-profile business community in the State have always been celebrated and had triggered multiple reactions.
In January 2015, the Kerala Government had refused to provide ‘Z’ category security for the Dera Sacha Sauda leader during his visit to the State. He had arrived in Kerala in connection with his real estate business in the State and for sightseeing. The State Government at that time had informed the Union Ministry that the security protection could be provided only on the basis of payment for such ‘private visits’. Since there was no reciprocal arrangement between Haryana and Kerala with respect to the security cover, the State had asked the former to reimburse Rs.2 lakh spent for providing ‘Z’ category protection to the spiritual head.
Keralites’ incandescent reaction to the Republic TV has triggered a bad impact on News Republic, an android application operated via playstore, which gathers news from around 1,650 media across the world. Officials of the News Republic has last day informed The Kochi Post that people had misunderstood that News Republic was affiliated to the Republic TV and were mistakenly posting comments on the latter’s reporting manners.
“We would like to state that the News Republic has no affiliation or connection with the Indian broadcast channel Republic TV,” said a statement from the News Republic. Several media houses in Kerala, including The Kochi Post, had on Wednesday reported that the android app of Republic TV was also flooded with comments against the skewed reporting of the television channel on political violence in the State. It is informed that netizens wrongly posted comments on the News Republic application as they thought it was associated with the Republic TV. Meanwhile Republic TV’s official android app is yet to be launched, says the statement we received.
According to the press statement, News Republic is an online app which leverages editorial, algorithmic and community intelligence to offer the sharpest and widest perspective on the world by ramping relevance and discoverability in custom news flows. As mentioned, around 1,650 media are feeding news to the app on a regular basis. The app is also providing a platform for the readers to connect and share their views on various topics.