Incarcerated Kashmiri reporter wins American press award
The National Press Club USA has awarded this years International John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award to Kashmiri investigative reporter, Aasif Sultan, who has been in custody for a year.
Sultan was an assistant editor of the magazine, Kashmir Narrator. He had reported on slain Kashmiri militant leader Burhan Wani and how he had influenced Kashmiri youth. Apart from that he had routinely written probing reports on conflict in the valley including encounters, doggedly pursuing those that were suspected to be fake.
The Caravan Daily reports that during the acceptance speech, it was alleged that security forces had tried to convert Sultan into an informer. When he was detained, he was interrogated, his materials and archives seized and he was questioned about his sources.
Sultan was arrested in 2018 on several charges including for harbouring militants.
The press release from the National Press Club says:
Sultan’s case reflects worsening conditions for the press and citizenry in Kashmir, a region in northern India that is partly controlled by India and partly by Pakistan. The Indian-controlled section has been semi-autonomous for decades.
The award is granted to an American and a non-American journalist. The other awardee of this year is Mackenzie May, reporter with Fresno Bee in the Bay Area, San Fransisco, who had reported on criminal activities of a politician-business nexus in San Fransisco for which she was hounded by powerful people.