Monday, June 17, 2024

Alt News’ Mohammad Zubair wins 2023 Freedom of Expression Awards – Journalism by Index on Censorship

Mohammad Zubair, one of the founding members of fact-checking and news website AltNews, won the 2023 Freedom of Expression Awards – Journalism by Index on Censorship.

“His fight against fake news and disinformation in #India has led to him facing attacks, slander and even jail,” The group said while announcing the award on social media.

Index on Censorship is a nonprofit that campaigns for and defends free expression worldwide. The other nominees for the award were Bilan Media — Somalia’s first women-only media organisation and newsroom— and Afghan journalist Mortaza Behboudi.

Jailed educationalist Matiullah Wesa from Afghanistan won the 2023 Freedom of Expression Awards – Campaigning. Iranian rapper Toomaj Salehi won the award in the art category.

Alt News’ approach focuses on political fact-checking to scrutinise claims made by political parties, leaders and other persons in positions of authority; debunking social media rumours; and examining media misinformation and bias.

In June 2022, following a tweet exposing a national spokesperson of the BJP making hateful and Islamophobic utterances on national TV, Mohammed Zubair was arrested by the Delhi and Uttar Pradesh state police.

It has been reported that whenever Zubair was granted bail on one case another FIR would be lodged against him. This led to six FIRs being lodged against Zubair, resulting in him being caught in a 24-day cycle of arrest, bail and re-arrest.

The following month, the Indian Supreme Court granted Zubair bail and ordered his release, as there was no justification for keeping him in custody.

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