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Poonam Agarwal

HRD & investigative journalist
The Quint

Poonam Agarwal is a female investigative journalist and human rights defender working for the online news portal The Quint, where she regularly covers stories related to human rights in India and the abuse of law by the powerful. She helped expose corruption scams in India such as the 2G spectrum scam which involved high-ranking Indian officials. Poonam Agarwal has previously worked for several Indian media and wrote on sensitive topics such as Kashmiri militants, political funding or corporate spying. She also spoke out against cyber-harassment.

Human rights defenders in India face a diverse range of attacks and harassment for their wor defending the rights of others, including killings, torture, ill-treatment, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention, smear campaigns, and judicial harassment. People defending the rights of marginalised communities are targeted by state and non-state actors alike. Armed groups and private companies also target HRDs and community leaders for work related to economic development projects and their impact on the local communities or the environment. HRDs have also been labelled as "insurgents" or “Naxalites” (Maoists), in an attempt to discredit their work and justify their targeting.