Prominent journalist Rana Ayyub and author of an investigative book, ‘Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up’, was awarded the title of ‘The Most Resilient Journalist’ of 2018 on International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, at Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands on Saturday by Free Press Unlimited.
She is said to have received the award for her resilience against an online vilification campaign set to smear her work and ‘intimidate her out of continuing her job as a freelance journalist’.
The award comes in wake of growing gruesome attacks on journalists around the globe, with the latest victim being killed Saudi Arabian dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Taking to twitter to express her gratitude, Ayyub called it a ‘huge honor’ and said she was humbled.
Huge honour and I am humbled. Just been awarded the Most Resilient Global Journalist at the Peace Palace in Hague – Dedicating this to the extraordinary nominees and brave journalists everywhere.Thank you @freepressunltd pic.twitter.com/Idniz5AFni
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) November 2, 2018
Ayyub has been amidst a constant stream of attacks following the publishing of her book-which she investigated, by going undercover for eight months-noting the extrajudicial killings of Muslim civilians, leading to India’s first serving Home Minister being sent to prison.
In 2002, right wing groups took part in attacks on Muslims in Gujarat, leading to a violent communal massacre. The book also accused now Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s complicity in the massacre.
After Rana’s investigative work was rejected, she self-published it, selling three lakh copies in seventeen languages. It also opened her up to continuous stream of online and offline harassment, often sexual in nature and intense trolling.
She had also received death threats, and stalker messages, leading her once to change her SIM card 52 times in one year alone.
The online ‘coordinated social media campaign’ also drew the attention of a number of U.N. rapporteurs, who released a statement saying they are “highly concerned that the life of Rana Ayyub is at serious risk following these graphic and disturbing threats.”
They called on Indian authorities to protect Ayyub and investigate those who are intimidating her.
Despite all of this, Rana Ayyub refuses to leave India, stating that it would send a signal that trolling works to silence journalists.
The award contains a cash prize of 15000 Euros besides a memento and certificate.