Two journalists from Hindustan Times, Mumbai, Ketaki Ghoge and Snehal Rebello, received ‘The Press Club Award for Excellence in Journalism’ for their report ‘Goa’s mining shame,’ published in the September 22, 2011 edition of this paper.
The award was presented at the Mumbai Press Club awards ceremony on Saturday.
The report, which emerged the first runner-up in the political category, had uncovered the extent of illegal mining in Goa and the nexus between the mining lobby and the administration.
“It was information collected meticulously by many Goan activists, and stories shared by affected people that helped us uncover the extent of the illegal trade,” said Ghoge, senior assistant editor, Hindustan Times.
In a series of reports last year, HT had revealed that illegal mining had cost Goa Rs. 3,000 crore — though some estimates had pegged the loss at Rs10,000 crore. The HT stories had exposed how mines had come up with blatant disregard to environment laws with complicity of officials and politicians.
“We thank HT for giving us a free hand to do justice to the story. The political nexus with the mining lobby is deeply entrenched,” said Rebello, special correspondent, Hindustan Times. “We hope the current government in Goa cleans up the mining mess that the last government left behind.”
Around 500 entries from across India were short-listed and judged by distinguished juries in categories such as crime, politics and sports.
The Press Club honoured Vinod Mehta, editorial advisor, Outlook group, with the lifetime achievement award. “I started my career in journalism in Bombay. My best years were spent in this city, while running the Sunday Observer in the 1980s,” said Mehta, who received the award from Union HR, Communication & IT Minister Kapil Sibal.
“Indian media has been a pillar of the Indian state. No other country has the kind of freedom that the Indian media does,” said Sibal.
Read their story here.