- NET Web Desk
The Guwahati-based journalist Nava Thakuria have been conferred with the prestigious Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) Award 2021 for his relentless commitments to safeguard the rights of media persons in the South Asian country.
Defending the press freedom along this region with exemplary initiatives, the Northeastern journalist received the award on November 30, 2021 remotely due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
“It is the first time that the PEC rewards a journalist from India, the second most populous country of the world. India has a strong democracy and a vibrant press. Last year however, a record number of 15 journalists were killed in India and six this year. Journalists are targeted documenting abuses, corruption, criminal activities,” – asserted the PEC Secretary-General Blaise Lempen.
According to a press release issued by the Press Emblem Campaign, COVID-19 brought-in a grave impact among the media fraternities of India and Brazil.
“The PEC award also wants to pay tribute to some 300 journalists who died throughout India with Covid-19 complications.” – the press release further adds.
Thakuria expressed his heartfelt gratitude on receiving the honour, which recognised his selfless contribution into the field of press.
“Receiving the PEC award is a great honor and represents a strong incentive to continue my work. I now feel more responsible for my colleagues in the media fraternity. At the same time, I greatly appreciate this award which draws attention to the situation of journalists in my country,” – stated Nava Thakuria from Guwahati.
“Journalism, be it print, electronic or digital, remains a hazardous job in India. Media persons are not duly paid here and often they face threats from both the government and non-state actors including the goons. This year, the Covid-19 has impacted severely upon the media industry in India”, he added.
Besides his home country, Nava Thakuria have also documented the media crisis in Myanmar, and reported the detention of over 120 journalists after the military coup in February 2021.
Born on January 1, 1968, Thakuria have been associated with the mainstream media for the past 30 years.
A graduate from Assam Engineering College, Thakuria preferred to be a professional journalist.
Commencing his career as a reporter for an Assamese language daily named ‘Natun Dainik’ in 1990, Thakuria shifted to freelance journalism by 1999.
Presently, he is contributing for various media outlets including The Statesman (Kolkata), The Financial Express (Dhaka), The Imphal Times (Imphal), Ishan Darpan (Guwahati), Tehelka (New Delhi), Terra Green (monthly journal of TERI in Delhi), VIDURA (the quarterly journal of Chennai-based Press Institute of India), along with a number of digital media outlets.
His focus areas lies in covering socio-political, cultural and environmental issues relating to northeast India along with Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh.
He remains vocal for various rights for journalists, but often make critical comments against those in the profession who try to misuse the power of media.
Thakuria has also visited Thimphu, Dhaka, Yangon, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Copenhagen, Chicago, etc for covering various global events and orientation programs.
In 2010, Thakuria was conferred with ERDF Awards of Excellence for his contribution into the field of journalism.
It’s pertinent to note that PEC is the global media safety and rights body which holds the consultative status at the United Nations.
Devoted to strengthening the legal protection and safety of journalists across the globe, PEC was formed in Geneva in 2004 by a group of journalists.
Since 2009, it has been awarding its annual prize to an individual or an organization, who works for the protection of journalists, thereby safeguarding the press freedom on the grounds.
The independent non-profit and non-governmental organization (NGO), PEC aims to promote the protection of journalists in situations of violence, with a view to strengthening the respect for press freedom, the right of professional journalists to information and the safety of journalists.
In 2020, the award was conferred to Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui.