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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.
This past week, the managing editor and a senior editor of a popular Hindi TV channel, ABP News, resigned on two successive days. Another famous primetime anchor was asked to go on a 15-day leave. The reason: they did some reportage critical of the prime minister of India. In this article, senior editor Punya Prasun Bajpai, who resigned on August 2, claims the channel's management asked him to avoid references to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his criticism of government policies during his show Masterstroke.
In the context of the prevailing political scenario, following the diktat would be an immensely difficult task. Take, for instance, a report on unemployment in India highlighting the government’s claims of employment generation through its skill development programme. How would it look, showing the reality on ground without a whisper about the claims made by Prime Minister Modi about the success of the programmes?
He goes on to write that while the prime minister wants to train 400 million young people under the skill development programme, until 2018 only 20 million had undergone such a training.
Most interestingly, Bajpai writes that a 200-member team at the Information and Broadcasting Ministry of India monitors the content of all news channels.
The truth is, those who watch primetime content are asked to prepare a report on the duration for which the bulletin shows the prime minister, obviously in a good light. Those who show him for the longest duration are considered the best.