Dainik Bhaskar team gets Prem Bhatia Award for Covid reporting

The team of Dainik Bhaskar, which had extensively covered the under-reporting of Covid-19 deaths in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Gujarat, has won the Prem Bhatia Award for outstanding political reporting.

Vaishnavi Rathore of The Bastion digital magazine won the environmental and developmental reporting award for her “wide-ranging coverage of environmental degradation issues and displacement of Adivasis,” the Prem Bhatia Memorial Trust said in a statement.

The Dainik Bhaskar group’s newspapers had reported extensively from different states about underreporting of Covid death in the second wave from April to June. In July, the Income Tax Department raided the group’s owner’s residential and office premises across 32 locations in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Delhi. The department had later alleged that the group had evaded taxes worth Rs 700 crore and indulged in cyclical trading of Rs 2,200 crore, violated stock market rules and set up several companies to book “bogus expenses” and siphon funds.

The awards were instituted in 1995 in the memory of Prem Bhatia, who was a diplomat and an eminent journalist. “The main objective of the Trust is to propagate the values that Prem Bhatia stood for: objective reporting, fearless pursuit of the truth and a commitment to improving the standards of journalism in India,” the statement said.

Former winners of the award include The Indian Express Executive Editors P Vaidyanathan Iyer and Ritu Sarin, Dipankar Ghose and Sankarshan Thakur for their work with The Indian Express, and Nirupama Subramaniam, Raj Chengappa, Neerja Chowdhury, Suhasini Haider, Praveen Swami, Rajdeep Sardesai and P Sainath, among others.

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