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As leaders and policy-makers from various fields watched, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today gave away the first Ramnath Goenka Awards for Excellence in Journalism, the biggest media awards in India.
While Praveen Swami of Frontline and Varghese K George of The Indian Express shared the Journalist of the Year (Print), Barkha Dutt of NDTV won the Journalist of the Year (Broadcast). These awards carry a prize money of Rs 2.5 lakh each.
The awards covered the whole sweep of Indian media—print and broadcast, English and Indian languages, environment and business. The Regional Award for the Northeast went to freelance journalist Ratna Bharali Talukdar for print and NDTV's Sutapa Deb for broadcast. Mir Ehsan of The Indian Express won the award for Jammu & Kashmir (print) and NDTV's Vikram Choudhary (broadcast).
The award for regional languages (broadcast) went to Aaj Tak's Punya Prasun Bajpai while Lokmat's Sopan Pandharipande won it for print.
Freelance Journalist Ramesh Menon got the award for best environmental reporting (print) and NDTV's Swati Thyagarajan for broadcast. The award for Uncovering India Invisible (print) went to freelancer C. Vanaja, and to Shikha Trivedy of NDTV (broadcast). The Business and Economic Journalism award for print went to Vikas Dhoot for his work in Business World while Menaka Doshi from CNBC TV18 won it for broadcast. The award for Foreign Correspondent Covering India (print) went to The New York Times' Somini Sengupta.
The winners came from all over India bearing stories that showcased the best of journalism. They were awarded for their courageous, moving and accurate reports that set the benchmark for journalism in India.
''You are in the business of capturing the minds of people, of shaping ideas and thereby transforming society. I hope these awards will encourage more of our journalists to pursue the journalism of change,'' said Prime Minister Singh.