“I believe that I love India more than any other country in the world…which is why I’m here, risking everything,because this could potentially be my last trip out of India,” Rana Ayyub said in her speech.
WASHINGTON: Senior journalist and columnist at the Washington Post Rana Ayyub received the John Aubuchon Press Freedom award, the United States’ highest press award on Wednesday. She is the first Indian journalist to receive the award.
Announcing on her Twitter page, Rana Ayyub wrote, “This evening I received the John Aubuchon honour in a room full of the country’s finest. I dedicated the award to Shirin Abu Akhleh and to every single journalist fighting an isolating battle. History will be kind to us. Thank you @PressClubDC @mccarrennews”
Shireen Abu Akhleh was a Palestinian-American Al Jazeera journalist who died earlier this year. She was hit by a bullet in her head by the Israeli forces. She was attacked despite wearing a press vest.
In her acceptance speech, Rana spoke about the atrocities of Muslims in India on a daily basis. She said, “For this very speech, my country will tell me I am unpatriotic. I believe that I love India more than any other country in the world…which is why I’m here, risking everything because this could potentially be my last trip out of India…It’s a story not just about the persecution of Muslim minorities. It’s a story of India, the world’s largest democracy sliding into a state of fascism.”
She added, “The day they called me to announce that I was the recipient of the Aubuchon honour this year, I was in hiding because one of my colleagues, a journalist, a friend of mine who is a co-accused in a case with me, was behind bars in a case for a tweet he wrote four years ago. Ironic, isn’t it, that people who preside over genocides are feted by the world but those who speak truth to power have been asked to stay low profile? That’s a sign of the times we live in.”
The author of Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up Rana Ayyub was disallowed to board a plane to London by the Mumbai airport. She was on her way to deliver a speech on the intimidation of journalists. On October 13, the Enforcement Directorate of India (ED) filed a charge sheet against her in a money laundering case.(Siasat Daily)