Bangladesh’s Rozina Islam, Kashmir’s Bhat Burhan awarded

Kashmir Times. Dated: 11/4/2021 1:42:12 AM

JAMMU, Nov 03: Bangladeshi journalist Rozina Islam, who was harassed for revealing corruption in Bangladesh’s health sector during the coronavirus pandemic, has received this year’s Free Press Award for courageous journalism. She won the award in the ‘Most Resilient Journalist’ category.
Last year this award was bestowed upon the Philippine journalist Maria Ressa who won the Nobel Prize this year.
This award is given by the Amsterdam-based organisation Free Press Unlimited.
Free Press Unlimited works in over 40 countries of the world for press freedom and excellence in journalism. They have link with over 90 media organisations worldwide. The Netherlands foreign ministry provides support to the organisation.
Free Press Unlimited awards the journalists in two categories – one is ‘Most Resilient Journalist’ and another is ‘Newcomer of the Year’. Young Kashmiri journalist Bhat Burhan was awarded in the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ category.
Kashmir based journalist, Bhat Burhan has won the ‘Newcomer of the year-Hans Verploeg Award 2021’ by Free Press Unlimited. The winners of the award were announced during a festive ceremony on Tuesday in the Hague, Netherlands.
Currently, Burhan is a 22-year-old freelance journalist and filmmaker and has been reporting about several issues from Kashmir and parts of India.
His recent documentaries focused on the crisis of transgender community in Kashmir, the farmers’ protests in India, the crematorium workers who cremated around a hundred Covid-19 victims in New Delhi, and the lack of Covid-19 vaccination to refugees in New Delhi.
The Free Press Award in the category ‘Newcomer of the year in Journalism’ recognizes the talented new journalists who have put in a strong performance in the field of reporting from their respective places. The nominees demonstrate their commitment to press freedom and independent coverage.
Free Press Unlimited said Rozina Islam was awarded because of her great courage and perseverance. As an investigative journalist working for the largest daily newspaper in Bangladesh, 'The daily Prothom Alo', she has uncovered wrongdoings in her country’s health spending and is now facing trial and tribulation in her country.
The jury unanimously decided to grant this year’s Most Resilient Journalist Award to Rozina Islam. The jury said, “We express solidarity with the fight of journalists to uncover malpractices during this problematic time of the pandemic and calls on the government of Bangladesh to stop its harassment of Rozina Islam.”
On 18 May last year, journalist Rozina Islam was harassed while carrying out her professional duty at the health ministry. She had been confined to the ministry for about six hours. She was shown arrested under a century-old Official Secrets Act later and sent to jail.
After five days, Rozina Islam was released from jail on bail. Programmes were held home and abroad protesting torture and case against Rozina Islam. Various local and foreign organisations also issued protest. Though Rozina Islam was released on bail, the case against her has not been withdrawn as yet. Her passport, mobile phone and accreditation card used to carry out professional duty at the secretariat have also not been returned.



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