Charkha Observes Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2020 Felicitation Ceremony

Charkha Development Communication Network celebrated the “Sanjoy Ghose Media Awards 2020” felicitation ceremony online by recognising the work of five special writers who in the last 6 months have reported from some of the most rural and remote regions of our country and on issues that usually do not find their way to national “mainstream” media.

These five awardees were selected amongst 37 applications received from 11 states last year. The keynote speaker, Rajni Bakshi, a senior journalist, author and the founder of the online platform Ahimsa Conversation, congratulated the award winners.

In her keynote address, Rajni shared her experience of working with Sanjoy Ghose, who established Charkha in 1994 with the belief that rural communities must be heard at the policy level if development processes are to benefit the poorest sections of society. He was abducted and killed by ULFA in Assam in 1997.

While remembering Sanjoy, she said, “The life of Sanjoy Ghose is an inspiring one. He taught us how fearlessness, creative restlessness and creative defiance are imperative for effective journalism and Charkha is working with these three values to highlight the development challenges of rural India.

“This award is an important platform to build bridges between people trying to address challenges of the contemporary world.”

Charkha’s president, Tilak Mukherjee, acknowledged the contribution of these winners on issues that focused largely on the lives of rural women. A short video showcasing the activities undertaken by the awardees was also showcased at this online event.

Guest speaker and grassroots journalist Neetu Singh delivered a talk on Rural Reporting during Times of Crises: How Covid-19 has Deepened the Rural Reporting Crisis in India.

“It is important to report regularly from rural areas. In case of disasters, pandemics and other critical events, it should be amplified, and concerns of groups often ignored by mainstream media should be registered at the macro level,” she said as she emphasised the distinctive challenges faced by rural reporters, more so during the times of Covid-19.

She believes that these awards play a significant role in supporting rural journalism by providing financial support to rural writers.

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Priyanka Pathak and Mukti Das, committed theatre artists and alumni of the National School of Drama, recited poems written by Baba Nagarjun, Katyayni and Gulzar, reflecting upon the challenges of rural India.

The awards carried a citation and required the awardees to write five articles on their chosen theme. The awards have been selected by an eminent Jury comprising senior media persons.

A total of 25 articles written by these five awardees — Bisma Bhat (Srinagar), Rajesh Nirmal (UP), Rama Sharma (Rajasthan), Rukhsar Kousar (Poonch) and Suryakant Devangan (Chhattisgarh), have been published through Charkha’s award-winning Trilingual Feature Service in Hindi, Urdu and English.

The event was dedicated to Mario Noronha, Charkha’s CEO, who passed away in April due to Covid-19.