Mohammed Zubair nominated for Freedom of Expression Awards

Mohammed Zubair. [File Photo]

Mohammed Zubair, co-founder of Alt News, has been named one of the three nominees in the journalism category for the 2023 Freedom of Expression Awards presented by the Index on Censorship.

These awards recognize individuals engaged in “courageous, high-impact, and determined journalism that exposes censorship and threats to free expression.”

Zubair’s nomination stems from his dedicated efforts to address issues within the Indian media landscape. This includes highlighting overt political pressure on media outlets and shedding light on opaque methods used to allocate government funding to media organisations, The Wire reported.

Alt News, the platform he co-founded, has been commended for its work in dismantling propaganda networks, conducting political fact-checks to scrutinize claims, debunking social media rumors, and investigating media misinformation and bias.

The Index on Censorship also acknowledged Zubair’s arrest in June 2022 as emblematic of the significant threats he has faced for challenging misinformation and disinformation propagated by influential members of the ruling party.

The other two nominees for this prestigious award are Bilan Media, Somalia’s first women-only media organization and newsroom, and Mortaza Behboudi, an Afghan journalist who was detained by the Taliban in January of the same year.

Ruth Anderson, CEO of Index on Censorship, emphasized that the Freedom of Expression Awards serve as an opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional work carried out by artists, journalists, and activists worldwide, even in the face of extraordinary challenges.

The Index on Censorship is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocating for and defending free expression on a global scale. It publishes the work of censored writers and artists and champions their causes.

Previous recipients of the journalism category in the Freedom of Expression Awards include Huang Xueqin, a Chinese journalist recognized in 2022 for her significant role in covering the MeToo movement. She went missing in September 2021 and was later confirmed to have been charged with “inciting subversion of state power” by the authorities, remaining in detention.

In 2021, Samira Sabou, a journalist from Niger, received the award. She had been arrested multiple times by authorities, notably in 2020 for exposing corruption in the defense ministry and again in 2021.

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