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Indian scribe forced out of Chattisgarh wins international award for reportage

india Updated: Jul 19, 2016 00:02 IST
Malini Subramaniam

The house of Malini Subramaniam was targeted by a group of men in Jagdalpur, Bastar region of Chattisgarh, in February 2016. Subramaniam eventually left the state due to the constant threats to her well being. (HT File Photo)

Freelance journalist Malini Subramaniam has been chosen for the prestigious 2016 International Press Freedom Award for her work on human rights violations in Chattisgarh, it was announced on Monday.

The award, given by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), chose Subramaniam for her reportage that led to her being threatened and eventually driven out of the state.

“Malini Subramaniam, a freelance journalist from India, was attacked and harassed after she reported on human rights abuses and the conflict between Maoist groups and state forces in Chhattisgarh. Earlier this year, Subramaniam fled her home state after being repeatedly harassed and threatened,” the committee noted.

Read | Attacked, intimidated, Bastar journo Malini Subramaniam packs up

Read | Bastar journalist’s house targeted by several men for ‘Maoist link’

Earlier this February, Subramaniam’s house was targeted by about 20 men who raised slogans, calling her a Maoist sympathiser and wishing her death. Later, a few men threw stones at the building.

As a freelancer, Subramaniam has extensively written on human rights violations including tribal protests against police atrocities, allegations of sexual violence by security forces and fake encounters in the conflicted Bastar region.

Read | Why Chhattisgarh is India’s hall of shame

Three other journalists were also chosen for the award – Mahmoud Abou Zeid, an Egyptian photojournalist also known as ‘Shawkan’, who has been imprisoned since August 2013; Can Dündar, editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Cumhuriyet, who was sentenced in May to five years and 10 months in prison on charges of revealing state secrets; and Óscar Martínez, an investigative reporter for the online newsmagazine El Faro in El Salvador.

“These four brave journalists have risked their freedom and their lives to report to their societies and the global community about critical news events,” CPJ executive director, Joel Simon said.

Further, Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent and anchor at CNN, will receive the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom.

“One of the most respected figures in journalism, Christiane Amanpour has reported from the world’s major hot spots and has interviewed many world leaders. She has consistently used her own journalism and worked behind the scenes to defend the rights of journalists and uphold press freedom all over the world,” said CPJ chairman Sandra Mims Rowe.

“We are proud to present her with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award, which recognises a lifetime of dedication to her colleagues in the field,” she added.

The awards will be presented in New York on November 22, 2016.