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The Tribune gets award for excellence in journalism
Tribune News Service

Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh presents IPI-India award for excellence in journalism 2012 to Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune Raj Chengappa and Chief of Bureau Prabhjot Singh
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh presents IPI-India award
for excellence in journalism 2012 to Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune
Raj Chengappa and Chief of Bureau Prabhjot Singh. Former Chief Justice
of India Dr Justice AS Anand (extreme left) and N Ravi, director of
The Hindu, (extreme right) are also seen in the picture.
Tribune photo: Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, February 21
Calling for the need to balance commercial considerations with real public service, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh today presented the International Press Institute (IPI-India), India Chapter, award for excellence in journalism (2012) to The Tribune for publishing an investigative series into the loot of the public transport system in Punjab.

He said the media should be seen by the government as an ally that could be engaged constructively for social objectives.

Ramesh recalled that as Environment Minister, he took suo-moto cognisance of a series of reports in the paper on encroachment of the Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh.

“This was a matter of profound importance for the residents of Chandigarh and was an environmental disaster which was foisted by private builders. I issued notice on the basis of the story and I am glad to say that the project was given a red signal. It was stopped and the credit for it goes to The Tribune,” he said.

Stating that the management of The Tribune is a modern case study on how to manage the media in today’s time, he described the paper as a “regional newspaper with national outlook”.

The minister said the paper follows a middle path of journalism and is better than other national newspapers and the “extremely local” media.

The award carrying a trophy, a citation and Rs 2 lakh was presented by the minister to Editor-in-Chief Raj Chengappa and Bureau Chief Prabhjot Singh.

The Tribune was selected for the award by the International Press Institute (IPI-India), India Chapter, for a series of stories published between September and October 2011 exposing how politicians in Punjab exploited the public transport system and manipulated it for personal benefit at the cost of the citizens.

Justice AS Anand, former Chief Justice of India, who was on the jury, said in the world of news - in which it is difficult to distinguish between genuine and profit earning - paid news was “unethical, immoral and illegal”.

Recalling the days in the run-up to the series, the Editor-in-Chief said it was a difficult investigation because people were not ready to talk against the government. He gave credit to Prabhjot Singh and the Punjab Bureau for the expose.

“Soon after our series, the government countered our report but it failed to refute the fundamental misdemeanour of Punjab politicians. The Punjab Government, to browbeat The Tribune, stopped advertisements to our paper for a while. Recently, we have again got tough with them on certain stories and currently, there have been orders to stop state government advertisements to us,” Raj Chengappa said.

Prabhjot Singh said besides the congenial work atmosphere that has inspired reporters to take up issues of public interest without fear, the stories were a result of the loss of people’s faith in public transport in Punjab with the government not infusing money into the sector and diverting profitable routes to private transporters.

Justice SS Sodhi, President of the Tribune Trust, and Naresh Mohan, Trustee, were also present at the function.





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