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Aasif Sultan

John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award (USA)

On 22 August 2019, the National Press Club of America awarded Aasif Sultan the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award for being incarcerated due to his reporting. The Club formally stated that Sultan’s case reflects the worsening conditions for the press and citizenry in Kashmir.

Aasif Sultan is a human rights defender and journalist from IAK . He was the editor of a magazine called the Kashmir Narrator, whose social media accounts were blocked by the government of India under the Information Technology Act 2000 in August 2018. He has extensively reported on the human rights situation and politics in IAK  and was awarded the John Aubuchon Press Freedom Award by the National Press Club of America in October 2019.

Human rights defenders in India face a diverse range of attacks and harassment from state and non-state actors alike, including killing, physical assault, arbitrary detention, threats and judicial harassment. Police officials are often the perpetrators of violence against HRDs, which is usually carried out with impunity. Armed groups and private companies also target HRDs for work related to economic development projects and their impact on the local communities or the environment. HRDs are increasingly the targets of online smear campaigns by radical nationalists.