US Democratic Senator backs Indian journalist Rana Ayyubtext_fields
Washington: US Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy on Thursday expressed support for Indian journalist Rana Ayyub and said her work is driven by a sense of purpose and love for her country.
He described Ayyub to be an "award-winning Indian journalist who has courageously reported on religious violence, extrajudicial killings, and other matters of public interest in India." He added that her work is based on the ideals for which India stands.
Leahy also drew attention to the cyberbullying Ayyub faces. He in a statement said: "She faces online harassment, trolling, death threats, and baseless government retaliation for her reporting. Despite the immense pressure to silence her from government officials who should be protecting her, she continues to expose the abuses of those in power"
The American Senator observed that journalists in India are unsafe and struggle to do their job. "In 2022 alone, at least 38 journalists were killed, 294 were imprisoned, and 64 are missing for simply doing their job. Countless others faced intimidation, harassment, legal persecution, and threats."
He noted that freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democracy. "The fundamental differences between a democratic state and an authoritarian regime disappear in its absence."
He said everyone has the responsibility to defend press freedom and amplify the work of journalists who expose corruption, injustice, discrimination, and impunity. "We must stand up for freedom of expression and the rights of journalists, so Rana Ayyub and her brave colleagues around the world can do their essential work without fear of retribution."
Rana Ayyub is known for the self-published investigative book 'Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover Up'. The book is based on recorded conversations with senior police officers, bureaucrats, and politicians including PM Modi. Ayyub posed a US-based filmmaker Maithili Tyagi for the undercover operation which was carried out on behalf of Tehelka but the magazine put an end to the conversation after eight months.
She now works independently and has a Washington Post column, a Substack newsletter, and a Twitter audience of 1.5 million.
In October 2022, the ED accused her of utilising publicly raised funds of Rs 2.69 crore for herself. The charge sheet also alleged that the fundraising contravened the foreign contribution law. Ayyub claimed the funds were raised and used for Covid-19 support with the aim of helping people in need.