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New Delhi: The Wire‘s reporter Sukanya Shantha has won the prestigious Fetisov Journalism Award for her work on caste discrimination in Indian prisons. Shantha won the first prize in the ‘Contribution to Civil Rights’ category.
Twelve winners were chosen across categories from 400 submissions from across the world, and the winners were announced on April 22.
“The winners of this year’s Fetisov Journalism Awards are chosen in troubled times. And they are superb examples of fact-based journalism that people need to meet these challenges,” Aidan White, president of the Ethical Journalism Network and honorary advisor to the Fetisov Journalism Awards, said. “These winning stories demonstrate why truth-telling journalism is important to all of us. Today we pay tribute to all the winners, and we congratulate them! They have done good work, and they have made a difference to people’s lives.”
The first prize-winners receive a cash prize of 100,000 CHF. The second and third prizes are 20,000 CHF and 10,000 CHF respectively.
In an in-depth article on caste in Indian prisons, ‘From Segregation to Labour, Manu’s Caste Law Governs the Indian Prison System‘, Shantha had highlighted how prison manuals in various Indian states are still governed by the caste system.
Soon after the publication of Shantha’s first report in December 2020, the Rajasthan high court had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter and asked the government to revise its prison manual and remove clauses that assign work within prisons on the basis of caste. About two months later, the state government changed the manual – after 70 years of prescribing a caste-based division of labour. Several other state prison manuals, however, still retain such provisions.
Here is the full list of winners of this years Fetisov Journalism Awards:
“The First Prize in the category for Outstanding Investigative Reporting went to the team of authors from France for their stories “Uncovered: The Buried Truth of Assassinated Journalist Regina Martínez”, “Mexican Cartels: ‘The Asian Connection’”, “An Ocean of Guns: Mexico’s Journalists in the Crossfire of the International Arms Trade”, which are a part of the “Cartel Project”. The Second Prize went to Yudhijit Bhattacharjee (US) and Smita Sharma (India) for their investigation “Stolen Lives. The Harrowing Story of Two Girls Sold into Sexual Slavery”. Third Prize was awarded to Zecharias Zelalem (Ethiopia) and Will Brown (Kenya) for their series “African Migrants ‘Left to Die’ in Saudi Arabia’s Hellish Covid Detention Centres”.
The First Prize for Outstanding Contribution to Peace was awarded to Olatunji Ololade (Nigeria) for his story “The Boys Who Swapped Football for Bullets”. The Second Prize went to Haris Rovčanin and Albina Sorguč from Bosnia and Herzegovina for their series of articles: “BIRN Fact-Check: Is the Bosnian Serb Report on the Sarajevo Siege Accurate?”; “Serb Chetniks’ Links to War Criminals and Extremists Uncovered”; “Bosnian Serb Military Police Chiefs Never Charged with Srebrenica Killings”; “28 Years On, Families Still Searching for Missing Bosnian Soldiers”. The Third Prize was awarded to Ali Al Ibrahim (Sweden) and Khalifa Al Khuder (Syria) for their story “Syria’s Sinister Yet Lucrative Trade in Dead Bodies”
The First Prize in the Contribution to Civil Rights category went to Sukanya Shantha (India) for her series “Barred–The Prisons Project”. The Second Prize prize went to Corinne Redfern (Italy) and Ali Ahsan (Bangladesh) for their story “She Was Trafficked into a Giant Brothel. Now She Runs It”. The Third Prize was awarded to Monica Jha (India) for her story “The Testimony”.
The Second Prize in Excellence in Environmental Journalism category was shared between Bhrikuti Rai (Nepal) for her series: “Drawing a Line in the Sand”, “Permit to Plunder: How the Environment is Paying the Price for Nepal Local Governments’ Greed”, “Environment Conservation Takes a Back Seat in the Budget” and the international team of authors Sarah Maslin, Stephan Kueffner and James Tozer (Brazil /Ecuador/UK) for their series “Dispatches from the Amazon Under Pressure”. The Third Prize went to Karla Mendes (Brazil) for her investigation “Déjà Vu as Palm Oil Industry Brings Deforestation, Pollution to Amazon”.“