Indian journalist receives US’s highest press freedom award

Indian journalist Rana Ayyub, an outspoken critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and policies, Wednesday night received the prestigious John Aubuchon award conferred on her by the National Press Club of Washington DC, the Club’s highest honour for press freedom.

Ms Ayyub, a columnist with the Washington Post, has been facing harassment and threats for her critical reporting of the Modi government. The Post issued a full-page advertisement earlier this year in support of Ms Ayyub, saying “the free press is under attack in India”.

After her name was announced in July 2022, Ms Ayyub dedicated the award to her colleagues who are languishing in different prisons across the country. “Dedicating this to my colleagues Mohd Zubair, Siddique Kappan, and Asif Sultan incarcerated for speaking truth to power,” she had said.

In her acceptance speech, Rana Ayyub said that there is no free press in India anymore. “I’m here, trying to feel less alone at a time I feel very lonely” she said.

“I happen to be a Muslim and a woman. How dare I speak? … Thank you for making me feel less alone & isolated.” She further added.