New Delhi: Ismat Ara was among the winners of the first edition of the Human Rights Religious Freedom (HRRF) Journalism Awards, taking home the Young Journalist of the Year Award for stories that were published in The Wire.
She was a joint winner in the category with Scroll‘s Aishwarya S. Iyer.
The awards were constituted by the Indian American Muslim Council, a Washington DC-based advocacy group. The HRRF Journalism Awards strive to “highlight stories and amplify voices that are often missing from the mainstream/elite media”.
“This year our jury chose winners in the extremely troubled times when media in India is under immense pressure from the ruling government,” said Syed Ali, president of IAMC.
Ara was chosen as a joint winner of the Young Journalist of the Year Award for stories on a temple-mosque controversy in Delhi’s Uttam Nagar, the tragic consequences of the so-called anti-love jihad law and the lynching of a Muslim youngster in Haryana. She was a staffer for The Wire when the stories were published.
Iyer’s stories covered the aftermath of the Delhi riots of 2020, shrinking space for open namaz in Haryana and the arrest of a Christian pastor in Madhya Pradesh.
Newslaundry‘s Akanksha Kumar was declared the winner of the Best Text Reporting on Human Rights & Religious Freedom category. Priyanka Thirmurthy of The News Minute and Shahid Tantray of The Caravan won the Best Video Story on Human Rights and Religious Freedom category and Syed Shahriyar was the winner in the Best Photo Story on Human Rights and Religious Freedom category.
Article 14 and the Mooknayak were declared joint-winners of the Best Media Organisation Covering Human Rights and Religious Freedom Journalism.
According to IAMC, the awards received more than 250 entries across five categories. The winners will share a prize pool of Rs 3 lakh.
Speaking at the awards ceremony, Gypsy Guillen Kaiser, who is the advocacy and communications director at the Committee to Protect Journalists, said the watchdog’s annual prison census found that India set a country record last year for the largest number of detained journalists. “The vast majority of journalists detained in India as of December 1, 2021 are Muslims,” Kaiser said.
“The worrying trends in India make HRRF Journalism awards all the more important to uplift and celebrate the invaluable work of the Indian journalist and to remind us of the responsibility that we all share in working to keep them safe,” she added.