PUCL award for journalist

Published : Apr 11, 2003 00:00 IST

DIONNE BUNSHA, Special Correspondent, Frontline, has won the 22nd Journalism for Human Rights award presented by the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) for her reports relating to human rights and civil liberties in 2002. The award, which is presented annually, was instituted in 1980 as a tribute to the PUCL's founder Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), particularly his role in opposing the Emergency. It is given to journalists writing on issues and problems concerning human rights in the country. The award, comprising a cash prize of Rs. 20,000, a citation and a plaque, was presented to Dionne at the PUCL' s annual JP Memorial Lecture held in Pune on March 23.

According to a note from PUCL general secretary Y.P. Chhibbar, the jury chose Dionne "for the wide canvas of her reports in the year 2002 along with her capacity for truth-telling, accuracy, fearlessness, and her analytical insights. Her writings on the right to life and livelihood, children's rights, minority rights and lawlessness of the state were incisive." Dionne's articles in 2002 included, among several others, those on the communal pogrom in Gujarat, the plight of the riot victims, particularly the pathetic condition of those living in relief camps, the local administration's failure in providing adequate rehabilitation to the victims, the Sangh Parivar's campaign to spread communal hatred in the State, the growing communal divide in the State and the role of the Gujarati language media in the riots. Dionne also wrote a series of articles on Maharashtra that focussed on the failures of the State's Public Distribution System, the lack of support mechanisms for drought-affected cotton farmers, the problems of migrant workers in Maharashtra's sugarcane belt and malnutrition and abject poverty in the State's tribal districts.

The PUCL's jury selected Dionne from several entries in various languages. The PUCL gives weight to follow-up stories by the journalists, the eventual effect of the story, the risk borne by the writer in doing the story and the record of the writer over time.

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