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Focus On Independent Journalism As Rohini Mohan & Arfa Khanum Get 2019’s Chameli Devi Jain Award

Posted: March 18, 2020

Independent journalist Rohini Mohan and The Wire’s Arfa Khanum Sherwani recently won The Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Women Mediaperson for the year 2019.

Every day, women are proving their potential in every field. Stereotyped by the society as ‘ladkiya ye sarein kaam nahi karti’ (girls don’t do all these things) are being busted because now women are proving their worth in every profession and winning laurels.

Journalists Rohini Mohan & Arfa Khanum Are 2019’s Chameli Devi Jain Award Winners

The recent example of this is independent journalist Rohini Mohan and The Wire’s Arfa Khanum Sherwani who won The Chameli Devi Award for Outstanding Women Mediaperson for the year 2019.

Who are these women?

Rohini Mohan

The bio on Rohini Mohan’s website describes her is an Indian independent journalist who writes on politics, environment and human rights in South Asia. ​For 14 years, she has written for several publications and websites including TIME, Harper’s, Al Jazeera etc. She is also the author of the award-winning book The Seasons Of Trouble (2014)a nonfiction account of three people caught up in the aftermath of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. She has received the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and Tata Literature Live! First Book Award for this book of hers.

In recent times, working independently she had significantly covered the National Register of Citizens (NRC) fallout in Assam. For which her work was recognised by The Chameli Devi Award association. 

Arfa Khanum Sherwani

Arfa Khanum is a senior editor at The Wire and hosts two video shows – Arfa Ka India and Hum Bhi Bharat

For her opinions, she has been subjected to a lot of trolling which also involved abuse, death and rape threats on Twitter and other social media platforms, accusing her of some political conspiracies. 

Both these women have done groundbreaking work in the field of journalism, and have inspired many other women to join this field.  

How Twitter reacted 

Twitter users all over India are in the applause of both these terrific ladies for this achievement.

Why is this award important?

We live in a society which still feels that news coverage requires risk-taking and that women don’t have the courage for it. In such a society, recognising the dedication and hard work put in by women to bring us fair and true news is a very big boost for the community. 

The Chameli Devi Jain Award has been instituted in 1980 after freedom fighter Chameli Devi Jain, and since then has been recognizing women in the field of journalism. It is perhaps India’s longest-running media award for women. It recognises women journalists on the criteria of “excellence, analytical skill, social concern, insights, style, innovation, courage and compassion.” 

This award has been earlier given to renowned journalists like Tavleen Singh, Neerja Chowdhury, Barkha Dutt, Supriya Sharma and many more. This year the most striking fact about this award function is that it has recognised the effort of independent journalism, instead of only those associated with a media house, recognising the role of alternate media channels or not so mainstream journalism. 

Image Source – Twitter 

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