Yoani Sánchez, a Cuban blogger, and Priyanka Dubey, a freelance journalist from India, have been named by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) as winners of the 2015 Knight International Journalism Award. The Knight International Journalism Award recognize the two ladies as media professionals who demonstrate a passionate commitment to excellent reporting that makes a difference in the lives of people around the world.
The Knight International Journalism Award was created to celebrate and honour the achievements of reporters whose outstanding news reports and media innovations have made a huge impact and improved societies around the world. The power of quality news and information is showcased at the awards dinner in the midst of many journalists from various parts of the world. The award is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funds ICFJ’s Knight International Journalism Fellowships program
Through her work Yaoni Sanchez was able to create a platform for other independent voices to be heard. Her work as a blogger and entrepreneur has helped to reshape the media landscape in Cuba. Ms. Sanchez’s blog, Generation Y, began in 2007 and has gained wide international following and is now translated into 17 languages. Despite the barriers of censorship, arrests and poor Internet access, Sanchez was able to give the world a rare glimpse of daily life under Cuba’s communist regime. She overcame the obstacle of poor connectivity on the island, where access is both expensive and limited, by emailing her blogs to friends outside of Cuba who posted them on the Internet. Sanchez successfully launched Cuba’s first online daily news service, 14ymedio.com in year 2014 and is now training a generation of young bloggers.
Priyanka Dubey is known for her freelance journalism, her in-depth reports which has brought to light the atrocities of rape, child trafficking and forced labour despite threats to her own safety from human traffickers and gangs in India. With a strong resolve to produce ground breaking investigative reports, the New Delhi based Dubey walked the length and breadth of India in order to make investigations on serious human rights abuses in India. At the risk of getting attacked by criminal gangs, she travelled to highway brothels and made shocking discoveries and revelations of how young girls are injected with hormones to make them look older and are then forced to work as prostitutes. Her reporting on organized gangs that force children into crime has led to court-ordered investigations of the gangs. Dubey also exposed how Policewomen are treated with bias and are sexually harassed.
“Our winners this year show uncommon resolve in tackling censorship and sexual violence,” said ICFJ President Joyce Barnathan. “Thanks to their courageous reporting, Cuba’s closed society is more open and India’s democratic society is more responsive to the plight of abused women.”
Sanchez and Dubey were selected by a distinguished panel of judges. Both winners will be honored at the ICFJ’s Award Dinner which takes place November 10, 2015 at Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Centre in Washington D.C.