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Raksha Kumar is a multimedia journalist focusing on human rights, politics and social injustices. Since 2011, she has reported for The New York Times, BBC, Guardian, TIME, South China Morning Post, Foreign Policy, Scroll.in and The Hindu.
In March 2018, she was awarded the National Foundation for India Media Award for her reportage on land rights in India. In 2017, she was shortlisted for Kurt Schork Memorial Awards in International Journalism. For her work on land conflicts in India, she was awarded the Chameli Devi Award for Outstanding Media Personality in 2016.
As a reporter, her focus areas are land and forest rights of the most vulnerable communities. However, since these issues cannot be looked at in isolation, Raksha found herself increasingly reporting on armed conflict around resource extraction in places like Chhattisgarh and Kashmir.
In 2015, she wrote, shot and directed a documentary film on Rationalists in Contemporary India. It was aired by India's public broadcaster, Doordarshan. The film has been screened in 29 locations across the country until now.
The same year, Raksha was selected as a Chevening Fellow by the University of Westminster to research on Hindu Right in the UK. This helped Raksha build on her post graduate dissertation which was on Hindu Fundamentalists in India.
With a Fulbright Scholarship for Leadership Development, she went to the Columbia University in New York City to pursue a Masters in Science. As a student, she was offered the Scripps Howard Fellowship to report from Israel and the West Bank. Since 2011, Raksha has reported from 11 countries across the world.
Raksha worked as an editor at NDTV, leading English news channel in India. She was the editorial head of a two-hour prime time news show, where she lead a team of about 20 junior journalists.
A graduate of Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi, Raksha was a dedicated student and a passionate public speaker.
Unsubstantiated news is as much a problem in India as anywhere else in the world. However, by February 2017, Whatsapp had more than 200 million monthly active users in the country. Moreover, by December 2016, 16.32 % of 1.3 billion Indians accessed social networks. With such a vast reach of social media, how does one prevent false stories, news items to be distributed widely? Well, there is no way. The only way is to understand why this happens and be empowered by that information. This podcast looks closely at confimation bias, specifically in the Indian context.
Confirmation bias is when one is biased towards a particular ideology - religious or political - and is given information which is aligned with such inherent bias, that information is absorbed more easily. To understand why confirmation bias is so dangerous in India, one needs to study the extremely diverse and fraught society. With thousands of languages, hundreds of ethnicities and religions, the country is held rather precariously. The podcast gives us a peak into Pratik Sinha's work on fact checking news items.