International award to journalist Nava Thakuria

Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) award conferred to senior journalist

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Nava Thakuria
Nava Thakuria has been awarded by the Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) for his relentless initiatives to safeguard the rights of media persons in India and neighboring countries.

The Geneva-based Press Emblem Campaign (PEC) has rewarded senior journalist Nava Thakuria, a resident of northeast India and a long-time contributor to us  (IndianPriner&Publisher), for his relentless initiatives to safeguard the rights of media persons in the south Asian country and also defending the press freedom in the region with
an exemplary commitment.

The Guwahati-based working journalist was awarded on 30 November 2021 remotely as it was difficult for him to reach Geneva because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Even a virtual interaction program with a group of journalists there was also canceled at the last moment.

“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,” said Blaise Lempen, secretary-general of PEC.

In 2021, the media fraternity in India was the most affected by the novel Coronavirus along with Brazil. The PEC award also wants to pay tribute to some 300 journalists who died throughout India with Covid-19 complications. The largest democracy in the globe also lost
six journalists to assailants till date this year.

“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” said Thakuria.

Journalism, be it print, electronic or digital, remains a hazardous job in India. Most of the media persons are deprived of due salaries in the Indian sub-continent and often they also face threats from both the government and non-state actors including the anti-social
elements. The Covid-19 has impacted severely upon the Indian media industry, he added.

Besides his home country, Thakuria has also taken the pain to document the media crisis in Myanmar (also known as Burma or Brahmadesh) and reported the detention of over 120 journalists after the military coup in February. Nearly 40 out of them are still behind the bars in the military-ruled country.

A graduate from Assam Engineering College (under Gauhati University, but preferred to be a professional journalist), Thakuria contributes news features to various newspapers of India along with several media outlets based in the different parts of the world. Starting his career as a reporter in Natun Dainik, a popular Assamese language daily in 1990, Thakuria shifted to freelance journalism in English by 1999.  His focus area of reporting remains the
socio-political, cultural, and environmental developments taking place in eastern India along with Bhutan, Tibet, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.

The changing faces of mainstream journalism after the advent of alternate media worldwide is also a primary focus area for him. Till now Thakuria has visited most of the prime localities in India and also Thimphu, Dhaka, Yangon, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Copenhagen, and Chicago for different events and professional assignments.

Created in the Swiss city of Geneva in 2004 by a group of journalists, PEC the global media safety and rights body with the consultative status at the United Nations, is devoted to strengthening the legal protection and safety of journalists around the world. Since 2009, it
has been awarding its annual prize to an individual or an organization, who works for the protection of journalists and the press freedom on the ground.

The award had earlier gone to Mexican journalist Carmen Aristegui in 2020. In the previous year, the PEC rewarded Afghanistan Journalists Center director Ahmad Quraishi, whereas in 2018 the award went to the family of Daphne Caruana Galizia (who was murdered in
Malta in October 2017).

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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