R.K. RADHAKRISHNAN, Associate Editor, Frontline, is the recipient of the Mumbai Press Club’s RedInk media award 2017 in the politics (print) category. The award-winning article was a two-part series on how major political parties systematically bribed voters in Tamil Nadu ahead of the May 2016 Legislative Assembly elections. The series published in the issues dated July 22 and August 19, 2016, was chosen by an eminent panel of judges comprising former Supreme Court judge Hemant Gokhale, Economic & Political Weekly Editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and former Additional Solicitor General of India B.A. Desai.
The award carries a memento, a certificate and Rs.75,000. Maharastra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis handed over the award at a function at the National Centre of Performing Arts in Mumbai on June 7.
The Mumbai Press Club instituted the prestigious National RedInk Awards for Excellence in Journalism seven years ago to promote best practices among journalists and encourage good-quality writing, fair play and high ethical standards.
The menace of cash for votes in an election is nothing new in India. But there have been few focussed studies to establish the extent of bribery during elections. Radhakrishnan began working on the cash-for-votes story in January 2016, almost five months ahead of the elections. The enticements had begun by then and continued through the campaign. After an exhaustive study, he asserted that “228 constituencies in the State witnessed large-scale, organised distribution of cash to voters”. As proof, he gathered all first information reports filed during the election process and relied on interviews with candidates, their agents and even voters.