Scroll.in contributor Malini Subramaniam on Wednesday won the Committee to Protect Journalists’ International Press Freedom Awards at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City. The CPJ chose four journalists, from Egypt, India, Turkey and El Salvador, for the award this year, noting that they have risked their freedom – and their lives – to report to their societies and the global community about critical news events.
Subramaniam reports from the Maoist belt in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, and has faced threats and censure from authorities for her articles on human rights violations by security forces there. In February, a group of protesters threatened to attack her, hurling stones at her house and inciting her neighbours. She was forced to move out of her home, drawing widespread outrage and also support from lawyers, journalists and rights advocates. Subramaniam’s experiences and reportage helped bring to national attention the authoritarian crackdown on journalists in the region.
During her acceptance speech, Subramaniam said she felt greatly honored by the award. ”The indigenous Adivasi community in Bastar are subjected to fake arrests, killings in fake encounters, forced surrenders and the most heinous of all crimes – rape and sexual assault of Adivasi women and girls by security forces... Reporters have been arrested with trumped up charges and I was driven out of Bastar. And the government of India watched, doing nothing,” she said.
Click here to read some of the pieces Subramaniam has written for Scroll.in.
The other three winners are freelance photographer Mahmoud Abou Zeid (Shawkan) from Egypt, editor-in-chief of Turkish daily Cumhuriyet Can Dündar and investigative reporter Óscar Martínez from El Salvador. The committee gave the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award to CNN’s chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour “for extraordinary and sustained achievement in the cause of press freedom.”