Press body condemns Pune institute’s cancellation of award to Kashmiri journalist

MIT-WPU said Safina Nabi’s ‘published opinions and views’ have the ‘potential to be viewed as contentious’.

WrittenBy:NL Team
A picture of Kashmiri journalist Safina Nabi.

After a Pune institute cancelled its media award to Kashmiri journalist Safina Nabi, the Network of Women in Media, India wrote to the institute expressing “disappointment” over its “lack of commitment to press freedom”.

“Ordinarily, the award would have signalled your institution’s recognition of the critical importance of storytelling in areas of intense conflict. To withdraw from that responsibility is a sad reflection of the journalism education you purport to stand for,” the letter said.

Nabi was selected for the institute’s media award for this story in Scroll, published in January 2022. She was chosen in a category for journalism that “promoted empathy, understanding and inclusivity in society” by a panel of journalists and academics. 

The ceremony was held on October 18. The Wire reported that Nabi received a call from an “unknown faculty member” on October 16 who said her award had been cancelled. She then got in touch with her point of contact at the institute who “confirmed that they were actually cancelling my award and he was sorry”.

Three jury members then refused to attend the award ceremony in protest.

On October 19, Hindustan Times published a statement from MIT-WPU which said an “internal miscommunication led to the unfortunate situation”. 

However, MIT-WPU sent an official statement to The Wire today on the withdrawal of Nabi’s award. The institute said it was “made aware of some of her published opinions and views, which have the potential to be viewed as contentious and not in alignment with the foreign policy of the Indian government”.

NWMI urged the institute to “to adhere to scholarly values, repeal this decision, issue a public apology and award Safina Nabi as she rightly deserves”.

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