'Organiser Tamil Nadu Correspondent, T. S. Venkatesan, was among three journalists presented with the Shri Narad Award 2021 at a function held in Madurai on the 26th of this month.
Vishwa Samvad Kendra, Dakshin Tamil Nadu (VSK), has been giving awards on Narada Jayanthi every year. It has selected senior journalist TS Venkatesan, Major Madhan Kumar (Retd) columnist and social media writer and photographer-cum sr. Journalist Ganesan for this year.
In his welcome address, Surya Narayanan said, "Narad Muni is a good-sage who is known as travelling musician and storyteller. He carries news and enlightening wisdom. He is the one mind-created child of Brahma, the Creator. RSS has found a new role model for journalists. He is the Sage Narad. He is the peripatetic sage and storyteller, a true journalist. He had been underlining the importance of freedom of expression in the granth-Naradsukti. He has urged the journalists of the present generation to present news as news with no distortion and with false narratives to suit their ideologies. People have the right to know what has happened as it is."
In his address, Chief Guest Retd Professor Gnanasambandan highlighted the importance of punctuality with his Japan tour experience. Recalling how the foreign media reports news, its importance to unique and real news, rather than reporting killings and bomb explosions. He wanted journalists should present news without tweaking. There are plenty of job opportunities that lie ahead if one reads Tamil as a language. "We are in the virtual media world. Social media plays an important role in it. With a telephone in our hands, one can know the news at this hour. People should read the content of the social media fully before moving to the next message or forwarding to other groups. Journalists have a responsible role in social media too."
He presented the awards to the selected three journalists, which contained a shield, shawl and a set of books as a memento. Venkatesan, at his address, recalled the difficult days in his early journalist career. He said, "Like the epic character Hanuman, who was sent in search of Maa Sita to Sri Lanka and after finding her in the palace of Ravan, Hanuman spoke to her as the representative of Ram and convinced her about his mission. On his return, by not keeping Lord Rama in suspense, Hanuman uttered only two words. He said, 'Saw Sita' are the only two words which gave him Ram the real scenario and Sita's location. Like Hanuman, we should present news in clear, unambiguous terms to readers. Do not beat around the bushes, or set false narratives, or do round about the way from telling the news that readers should know." He appealed to the organisers of the function to select one of the awardees in the age of 60 plus or who are due to retire or has retired. The award would motivate them in the fag end of their life as journalists live in a world facing uncertainty, poor pay, non-recognition coupled with professional risks, forgoing holidays, leaves, etc.
In his address, Major Madhan Kumar retired from defence, explained how China, during the Galwan intrusion days, spread false news through social media. He said, "Gone are the days, waging war with guns, rocket launchers. Now it is being done through social media. China is engaging in an information war against its opponents. There are groups in the country to spread false and cooked up narratives. People easily fall prey to its false, baseless, cooked up, made to believe the news. We should now focus our attention on preventing the new type of information war being waged by countries like China."
In his special address, Prakash, Public Relations of RSS for TN and Kerala, recalled the role played by sage Narad. He pointed out journalists have a great role to play. He said, "They should present news like Narad. The media should present news and be informative, educative instead of reporting killings due to bomb explosions or attacks on front pages." He shared the VSK's role with anecdotes. He said the Dravidian rulers in Tamil Nadu belittled the role played by sage Narad in spreading the news. "These elements portrayed that all Narad's actions ended with chaos and confusion and with tragic ends. People in the state still believe that". In Dakshin Tamil Nadu, VSK has been organising Narad award-giving functions in Coimbatore, Trichy, Nagercoil and Madurai.