The most awaited Media Trust Awards ceremony was held last Saturday at Hennessy Park Hotel Ebene. This year
seven categories have been awarded and News On Sunday’s journalist Nafissah Fakun has been the proud winner in the
category of Economics and Finance. Rizwaan Khodabux and Fernando Thomas are also the laureates for The Defi media Group.
This year, the prize of Nicolas Lambert Award, which serves to recognize the journalist of the year, was not granted. Awards in the different categories have been in the fields of economics and finance, sustainable development, gender equality, sports, print, multimedia and investigative journalism. This is the second year in a row that the Defi media Group has won the prize in the investigative category.
The Acting President, Barlen Vyapoory, attended the ceremony for the third time and was proud to be present. He lectured to reporters that journalism is not only an art, but also a science. The Acting President emphasized the importance of a journalist to be objective, honest and on duty to report the facts without adding any personal opinion. Moreover, he stated that journalists must protect a person from defamation and be careful when dealing with subjects involving minors and victims of rape. “A journalist must be transparent and accountable. The country needs a reliable press.”
The jury chair, Christina Chan-Meetoo, said the jury members were surprised by the record number of entries this year. The Media Trust received 90 entries, twice as many as the previous year. She pointed out that the purpose of the exercise was to raise the level of local journalism and made it clear that certain categories had not been rewarded. Christina Chan-Meetoo also pointed out that several articles submitted lacked information. “They were incomplete subjects and published in a hurry. We noted a lack of balance, diversity, and in some cases, a lack of rigor,” she highlighted.
‘The Credit Card: The Savior or Debt Trap’ conquered the jury
In the category of Economics and Finance, the News On Sunday article, published on 31st August 2018 and written by journalist Nafissah Fakun, impressed the jury panels. The article illustrated that going cashless is helpful but many people unconsciously get trapped into a vicious circle on financial instability. The article investigated a social as well as financial concern, in other words, whether the new generation is turning into money spending slaves without having any thought of saving for the future.
The journalist worked on this article after doing intensive research and getting the facts right. With the support of statistics available, the article pointed out that as at June 2018, 258,056 credit cards were in circulation. “According to statistical figures at the end of 2017, there were just above 255,000 credit cards in circulation within the Mauritian economy, roughly a ratio of 1 credit card for every 3 inhabitants (for an age range 15–60-years-old).”
The article also indicated that while the numbers of credit cards are increasing, the outstanding advances on credits also know an upward trend. “Outstanding advances on credit cards were Rs 2,821 million at the end of June 2018 compared to Rs 2,420 million as at end-June 2017, representing an increase of 16.8% over the period.”
Additionally, different experts in the field provided their insight. For instance, Daniel Essoo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mauritius Bankers Association (MBA) explained that the growth in the credit cards volume is mainly due to the benefits and convenience of effecting payments with cards. Finance expert Vineet Jugessur averred that “Unreasonable use, on the other hand, could lead to over dependency, resulting in negative consequences to both the users and the national economy.” Besides, Debt Recovery Specialist Shameema Gobindram-Namooya argued that the convenience of the credit card means the risk of getting into debt is too easy.
Nafissah Fakun: “I really appreciate that this article made an impact”
Nafissah Fakun has been working as a News on Sunday journalist for the past five years. She started her apprenticeship under the supervision of Eshan Dinally, the Editing Coordinator of this English language weekly. Prior to that, she completed her BSc in Political Science with specialisation in International Relations at the University of Mauritius. She subsequently earned an MBA from the Management College of South Africa in 2016.
Delighted on winning this award, she says that “getting such a prestigious award is indeed extraordinary. I dedicate this award to the News On Sunday team and the Defi Media Group. I also thank the Director of publication Ehshan Kodarbux and Eshan Dinally for their guidance. Not to forget my parents for their constant support as well.”
She hopes that this article is an eye opener for those people who use credit cards irresponsibly. “Following a conversation with an expert in this field, I realize that credit cards can be a debt trap if not used properly. Then I came forward with this piece of writing. A lot of work went into this – from doing research to contacting the resource persons who would like to provide their perspectives
on an issue. I really appreciate that this article made an impact. Now the good work continues. I will try my best to come forward with more impactful
She has always been interested in delving into journalism from her young age. She tackles a wide variety of topics, ranging from politics to education, just to name a few. She is also a collaborator for the weekly Le Dimanche/L’Hebdo, published in French Language.
Rizwaan Khodabux and Fernando Thomas
Rizwaan Khodabux and Fernando Thomas were awarded in the category of investigative journalism for the second time. Their article was published in Defi Plus and focused on poorly written prescription of patients. They received professional training under the mentorship of the Chief Executive Officer of the Defi Media Group, Ehshan Kodarbux.
Rizwaan Khodabux started his career in August 2010 within the Defi Media Group. He holds a Degree in Journalism from the University of Mauritius. The young man explains that it was Eshan Dinally who taught him the basics of investigative journalism. He thanked Ehshan Kodarbux for his support in training. “The award-winning article illustrates patients’ multiple sufferings when they go to the hospital. First, they suffer because they are sick. Then they suffer more because they end up going back and forth in the corridors of the hospital. Sometimes, it is the missing of a stamp on the prescription, or the signature of the doctor or the date mentioned is inaccurate. There were certainly a lot of criticism after the publication of the article. But I think that Fernando and I have been, if only for this article, the voice of the voiceless,” says Rizwaan Khodabux.
For Fernando Thomas, this year it is his ninth one in this field. He joined the Défi Media Group in 2010. Fernando Thomas is awarded in this category for the second year in a row. For him, investigative journalism is his favourite area of work. “It took us nearly three months of fieldwork. We went to meet these patients who were suffering and who could not receive their medication because of the doctor’s prescription stamp. I thank those who collaborated in carrying out the investigation. I thank my mentor and editor, Eshan Dinally. I also thank my family and especially my mother.”
Roshan Hassamal, from the MBC, is the winner of the Sustainable development category. “This is a very big surprise. I proposed this paper to my boss and he told me that it was a very good initiative and that it would help people understand the
organic culture. This award is for the MBC and the entire team.”
The laureate of the best press article 2018, Ève Fidèle works for the Business Magazine. “It was unexpected. It was the editor who encouraged me to be part of it. He helped me and directed me. I dedicate this victory to him.”
Benito Paris was awarded in the sports category. The MBC journalist shares his award with his co-workers and hopes to make those who have help him proud.
For the Multimedia category, Yashraj Saurty from Top FM was rewarded. He confides that it is by accident that he became a journalist. “We spent more than six months crisscrossing fire stations for the purposes of this report.”
Azeem Khobabux from the MBC won in the category of Gender Equality. “It is a compilation of atypical works that Mauritian women exercise, particularly in the field of masonry, mechanics, as a taxi driver or lion trainer. I would like to thank MBC’s Director of Information, Ravin Joypaul, and Executive Director Anooj Ramsurrun for their unwavering support.”