Co-founder and editor of news website The News Minute, Dhanya Rajendran, was on Tuesday awarded the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Woman Mediaperson 2022.

“Rajendran is being honoured today because we believe her work reflects some of the core values of professional journalism,” said Harish Khare, the chair of the Media Foundation, which gives the annual award. “That is the responsibility to hold those in positions of power accountable for their acts of omission and commission. Her investigative journalism has attempted to uncover injustices in areas like women’s rights, climate disaster, child abuse, state of our prisons and how do India’s prisoners get treated.”

The Chameli Devi Jain Award is for women mediapersons in India who have reported on themes such as social development, politics, equity, gender justice, heal, war and conflict, consumer values and democratic rights. The award was named after Chameli Devi Jain, a freedom fighter and a community reformer who went to jail during freedom movement.

Rajendran was unanimously chosen as the winner of the award by a three-member jury, comprising journalist Nidhi Razdan, national rural affairs and agriculture editor of The Indian Express Harish Damodaran and PTI Bhasha Editor Nirmal Pathak.

While announcing the award on March 15, the Media Foundation had said in a press release that Rajendran’s work showed a blend of meticulous reportage and data reflecting not only individual merit, but the pursuit of committed journalism.

In her acceptance speech, Rajendran said on Tuesday that when she quit her job at a national news channel in 2014, she had even thought of working as a party planner. However, she decided to launch The News Minute along with journalist Chitra Subramanium.

“I was a journalist with around a decade of experience,” Rajendran said. “My co-founder was a veteran. Both of us could write stories so I thought let’s just write stories and publish them and that’s how we started.”

She also mentioned that digital media organisations are doing cutting edge journalism and are being persecuted for it. “Digital media journalists have no accreditations, we have rules brought in by the government that have stifled us further,” Rajendran said.

She added, “Our reporters do not have big media backing that opens doors we are not part of power in legacy despite all this many hard hitting stories have now broken by digital media outlets. At a time when other media have become amplifiers of the rulers it is digital media that has become the voice of the people.”

Rajendran is also the chairperson of Digipub News India Foundation, a digital-only news association comprising 11 members, including Scroll.