This year has been that of amazing reportage by journalists, some of whom deserve worthy mention because they made sure that they indeed are the ‘fourth pillar of democracy’.
Here’s a list of 10 women journalists who have carved a space in the world of journalism and media this year.
1. Yashica Dutt
Yashica has been working with Hindustan Times, LiveMint, Scroll.in, The Wire, and HuffPost India as an independent journalist. She launched social media campaigns for Brunch, Hindustan Times’ Sunday edition, during her time there. Yashica blogs on social issues relating to Dalit issues and is the founder of the Tumblr blog site, dalitdiscrimination.tumblr.com. She published her memoir in 2019, ‘Coming out as a Dalit’ which is entailed with incidences of caste shame, and how growing up in a Dalit family was like where she had to hide her caste identity.
2. Kavita Devi
Kavita Devi is the Editor-in-Chief of Khabar Lahariya. An independent woman, from Bundelkhand’s rural hinterlands, who rose through persistence throughout her life battling various issues such as those of caste, class and resources, Khabar Lahariya materialized through the passion and determination of Kavita and like-minded women. Khabar Lahariya is an Indian newspaper written in Hindi’s various rural dialects, including Bundeli, Bajjika and Avadhi, with over 40 Dalit women from Bundelkhand reporting on various stories. The latest story on social media brings in interesting perspectives on how Dalit Bahujan women from rural areas perceive social media. Kavita recently also gave a talk on TED Talks India.
3. Chitrangada Choudhury
Chitrangada Choudhury is an independent journalist and a member of the core group of the People’s Archive of Rural India (PARI), working on issues of indigenous and rural communities, land and forest rights, and resource justice. She has written for various platforms like The Caravan, The Hindu, PARI, etc. She largely reports on stories deep inside rural India that rarely come into the limelight. This year, she wrote a pathbreaking article on Talabira coalmines and how Adani group has encroached land for mining, cutting trees, and how the government has silenced those who have dissented.
4. Greeshma Kuthar
Greeshma Kuthar is the author of an 18-part series on the saffronisation of Coastal Karnataka, which is a detailed account of the contemporary history of Hindu nationalism in coastal Karnataka. She is a lawyer from Tamil Nadu who works at Firstpost presently. In this 18-part series, she traces the origins of Hindu Nationalism in Coastal Karnataka, from the time of the mobilisation of Saraswat Brahmins in the 1800’s, to the Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj, and till the birth of the RSS in Mangalore in 1941.
She interviewed Dr. Hany Babu for Dalit Camera, where he spoke about what transpired during a raid in his home in Delhi. On September 10, 2019, a team of 50 police officers raided Dr. Hany Babu’s house in Delhi, saying they were from Pune. After the abrogation of Article 370 in August, she produced a podcast for Firstpost titled ‘Voices from the Lockdown’ where Kashmiri journalists and residents detail life under a virtual, everyday shutdown.
5. Rana Ayyub
Rana Ayyub is an Indian novelist and journalist. She is the author of Gujarat Files: The Anatomy of a Cover-up, which is an investigative research book, extensively covering Gujarat riots of 2002 with links to Amit Shah and PM Narendra Modi. The book got worldwide attention and Amit Shah was jailed for a brief while too. Last month, she was profiled by Dexter Filkins, in The New Yorker. She is a vocal Muslim woman who speaks for women’s rights, Muslim rights and against Hindutva and the politics of RSS. Rana Ayyub was rewarded the most Resilient Global Journalist Award at the Peace Palace in Hague, in 2018.
6. Anuradha Bhasin
Anuradha Bhasin has had a very long stint in journalism where she has uncovered multiple stories about Kashmir. She is an admired journalist reporting from a conflict zone. She is Kashmir Times’ Executive Editor, and in 2019 she filed a case that she is fighting against the communication blockade in Kashmir post the abrogation of Article 370.
7. Nitasha Kaul
Nitasha Kaul is an author, journalist and poet based in London. She writes and talks about political economy, Bhutan, Kashmir, Indian nationalism, sexuality, and nationality in addition to fiction. She is an associate professor in politics and international relations at the University of Westminster. She represented Kashmir in US Congressional hearings about the Abrogation of Article 370 and the media blockade and hit a lot of headlines in 2019 for her role in the same. As a Kashmiri Pandit, she fights for Kashmiri Muslims’ rights and has spoken at various forums against the human rights violations by the armed forces in Kashmir.
8. Supriya Sharma
Supriya Sharma is the Executive Editor at Scroll.in. She has previously worked with Times of India in Chhattisgarh. She broke a very important story about a village in Khunti, where 10000 Adivasis have been charged with sedition with over 19 FIRs filed against them. Apart from this, she has also worked upon the NRC-CAA fiasco by the government.
9. Seema Chishti
Seema Chishti is a journalist with The Indian Express. She writes on politics, is interested in issues around change in India and identity issues. She uncovered the Israeli spyware Pegasus used by the government using the popular messaging platform WhatsApp to spy on journalists and human rights activists in India earlier this year.
10. Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty
Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty is the Deputy Editor at The Wire, where she writes on culture, politics and the North-East. She earlier worked at The Hindu. She has extensively written for The Wire on issues stemming from the Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens. As an Assamese woman, she has extensive knowledge and has done excellent reportage of the events leading up to and during the ongoing protests. Her travels into the heart of Assam reveal the heartbreaking anomalies and legal loopholes that have left a subset of married Muslim women stuck with no recourse.
Here are some well-known, honourable mentions that aren’t on the list but definitely worth mentioning, as well: Neha Dixit was felicitated with the 2019 International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. In 2019, she spent months investigating and reporting stories on extrajudicial killings by the police. Rohini Singh reports for The Wire and other media organisations. She has previously worked with The Economic Times, and was in limelight this year for discovering BJP’s donations from a company being probed for ‘terror funding’, which also spiked discussions on the electoral bonds used by the government.
Also read: 19 Women Journalists Who Made News In 2018
This is in no way a comprehensive list of all the women achievers in the world of journalism. Suggestions to add to the list are welcome in the comments section. To all the women journalists plugging away at their tasks, thank you, and may your tribe increase.