Srinagar-based independent journalist Marouf Gazi, 26, has been conferred the Third NWMI Fellowship (2019), instituted to support women journalists working in various kinds of challenging situations.
This year, the NWMI received 28 excellent applications from Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand. The applicants belonged to various minorities, marginalized communities like Adivasis and Dalits, and also represented a range of media forms – print, online, television, radio and community media. Most of the applicants live and work in remote areas and in very challenging political and economic situations. All of them highlighted the difficulties of pursuing journalism as a career due to gender and other barriers.
Though faced with a difficult choice, the NWMI Fellowship Selection Committee unanimously decided to confer this year’s fellowship on Srinagar-based Marouf Gazi in recognition of her exceptional work spanning a range of topics from Kashmiri women’s resistance and human rights in the Kashmir Valley to less talked about issues like domestic violence and Kashmiri fashion design. Her rigorous work in an extremely challenging environment for women journalists shows immense promise.
“We often face internet shutdowns here. Although I manage to connect through Wifi, it still affects my job. The strikes or sudden curfews are a part of my life. We try to write about it and stay objective but we are a part of the conflict and it’s challenging most of the times. I am honoured to be selected to be an NWMI Fellow, and this fellowship will help me amplify the undocumented voices of women and tell their stories,” said Marouf.
The Selection Committee would also like the commend the following applicants:
- Sanna Irshad Matoo, 25; Srinagar, Kashmir, multi-media journalist for her extraordinary work in vividly documenting the dailiness of conflict in Kashmir.
- Fajar Shora, 24; Srinagar, Kashmir, for the sensitivity of her stories and poignant writing on a range of issues about Kashmir.
- Rizavana Tabassum, 24; Harpalpur, Uttar Pradesh, the most educated woman from the bunker (weaver) community, for her work in educating Muslim girls and also her grit and determination reporting on politics, violence against women and rural development.
- Jeyanthi R, 35; Kotagiri, Tamil Nadu, from the Irula tribal community for venturing forth into remote forests of the Nilgiris and courageously uncovering stories on taboo topics.
- Chandrani Sinha, 28; Guwahati, Assam, for her wide range of stories from the Northeast of India, from militarization and issues of transwomen to the fallout of the NRC process.
The works of these intrepid women journalists will be showcased on the NWMI website in the coming weeks.
The NWMI Fellowship, raised through voluntary contributions from members, consists of a modest annual stipend of Rs. 72,000, as well as professional equipment, if required. The Fellowship also ensures that the recipient becomes part of a nurturing and supportive community of media professionals. Mentoring, including help in the form of contacts with media houses and editors, guidance in pitching story ideas, and sharing of other professional skills, as desired/needed, is an important part of the solidarity and support extended by the network.
March 31, 2019