Indian journalist Malini Subramaniam has been conferred with the International Press Freedom Award for her reporting from the Naxal-infested Bastar area, one of the four journalists felicitated by the annual award for their commitment to a free press. She was honoured by the Committee to Protect Journalists along with El Salvador’s Oscar Martinez and Turkey’s Can Dundar. Jailed Egyptian photographer Abou Zeid, known as Shawkan, was given an award in absentia.
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Subramaniam, a contributor to the news website Scroll, has reported on abuses by police and security forces, sexual violence against women, the jailing of minors, the shutdown of schools, extrajudicial killings, and threats against journalists in the Bastar region in Chattisgarh, the CPJ said in a statement.
“She has been interrogated, surveilled, and harassed by police and members of a pro-police vigilante group in connection with her critical coverage of human rights abuses and politics. Police have attempted to malign her and label her as a Maoist agent,” it said.
Martinez was forced to flee El Salvador for three weeks after receiving death threats over an investigation into the killings of eight gang suspects by police.
Dundar was another honoree. He was arrested on November 26, 2015, after publishing an article alleging the government intelligence service sought to send weapons to Syrian rebel groups. He was charged with disclosing state secrets, espionage and aiding a terrorist group and was sentenced to five years in prison. He remains free, after spending 92 days in jail, while his appeal is considered.
Zeid has been jailed since August 14, 2013, on charges of weapons possession, illegal assembly, murder and attempted murder, the charges levied against hundreds of protesters in the clashes between Egyptian security forces and supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi.
“These four brave journalists have risked their freedom–and their lives–to report to their societies and the global community about critical news events,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon.
“CPJ is proud to honour these journalists who, in the face of repression and violence, continue to bring us vital news.” CPJ executive director Joel Simon said threats against journalism are increasing around the world.