Indian journalist Swati Chaturvedi is among 16 nominees shortlisted for the Reporters Without Borders’ first-ever London Press Freedom Awards. Chaturvedi, a freelance reporter, has been nominated for the Prize for Courage for her book I am a Troll: Inside the Secret World of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Digital Army.
Journalists and media organisations have been shortlisted for four awards that will be presented at the Getty Images Gallery in London’s Fitzrovia on November 8. Three prizes will be awarded for courage, impact and independence, and a special “L’esprit de RSF” prize has been set aside for United Kingdom media to mark London’s hosting of ceremony.
“Chaturvedi has been the target of vicious online harassment campaigns, like many other outspoken journalists in India,” the organisation’s statement said. “She responded by using journalistic weapons, investigating the ‘IT cell’ within the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Hindu nationalist party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which is notorious for keeping an army of angry trolls.”
The nominees include Maltese journalist Matthew Caruana Galizia, who tracked down his mother Daphne Caruana Galizia’s killers. His mother was assassinated in 2017 following her investigations into corruption. The list also includes Italian journalist and Sicilian mafia expert Paolo Borometti, whose murder plot was foiled by Italian police, and Ghanaian undercover reporter Anas Aremeyaw Anas who lives incognito after he reported about a bribery scandal in the African football world.
Other journalists nominated are Inday Espina-Varona (Indonesia), Péter Pető (Hungary), Afsar Sadiq Vali (Afghanista), Khaled el Balshy (Egypt), Hamid el Mahdaoui (Morocco), Çiğdem Toker (Turkey), Carole Cadwalladr (United Kingdom), and Madison Marriage (United Kingdom). Organisations SafeNewsrooms.org (Pakistan), The Centre for Communication and Information for Women (Mexico) and UK-based The Bureau Local, BBC and The Guardian are also on the nominee list.
Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of the organisation, said the shortlist reflects challenges faced by brave journalists across the world. “All of the nominees for our Press Freedom Awards courageously fight back against forces that would prefer journalism didn’t exist, from online mobs to organised crime and authoritarian governments,” Deloire said.