Pioneering Cuban Blogger, Indian Investigative Reporter Win Premier International Journalism Award
A trailblazing blogger who has shed light on Cuba’s tightly controlled society and an investigative reporter who exposed abuses against women and children in India have won the 2015 Knight International Journalism Award, the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) announced. The award recognizes excellent reporting that makes a difference in the lives of people around the world.
Yoani Sánchez has overcome censorship, arrests and poor Internet access to give the world a rare glimpse of daily life under Cuba’s communist regime and to open the door for other independent voices. Priyanka Dubey, a freelance journalist, has revealed the atrocities of rape, child trafficking and forced labor through her in-depth reports despite threats to her own safety from human traffickers and gangs in India.
“Our winners this year show uncommon resolve in tackling censorship and sexual violence,” said ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “Thanks to their courageous reporting, Cuba’s closed society is more open and India’s democratic society is more responsive to the plight of abused women.”
The award is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funds ICFJ’s Knight International Journalism Fellowships program. The fellows seed new ideas and services that deepen coverage, expand news delivery and engage citizens in the editorial process.
“These winners are committed to upholding the best principles of journalism—acting as information leaders in communities that need it most and capturing stories in new and innovative ways,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “Their work continues to have wide impact and holds valuable lessons for the entire field.”
Sánchez is reshaping the media landscape in Cuba through her work as a blogger and entrepreneur. She gained an international following for her blog about Cuban life, Generation Y, which began in 2007 and is now translated into 17 languages. She overcame the obstacle of poor connectivity on the island, where access is both expensive and limited, by emailing her blogs to friends outside of Cuba who posted them on the Internet.
Last year, Sánchez launched Cuba’s first online daily news service, 14ymedio.com, to create an independent platform for other Cuban journalists. She is training a generation of young bloggers to use technology to pursue their work, building a community of alternative voices in a country that lived for more than half a century under strict censorship.
New Delhi-based Dubey has crisscrossed India to put a spotlight on serious human rights abuses against women and children. She traveled to highway brothels and risked retribution from criminal gangs to produce groundbreaking investigative reports on young girls injected with hormones to make them appear older, and then forced into prostitution. Her exposés on the treatment of policewomen revealed bias and sexual harassment even in their own precincts. And her reporting on organized gangs that force children into crime has led to court-ordered investigations of the gangs.
A prestigious panel of judges selected the winners. Sánchez and Dubey will be honored at ICFJ’s Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 10.
The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) is at the forefront of the news revolution. Our programs empower journalists and engage citizens with new technologies and best practices. ICFJ’s networks of reporters and media entrepreneurs are transforming the field. We believe that better journalism leads to better lives. For more, visit www.icfj.org.
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.