By Mohd Naushad Khan
New Delhi, Nov. 16
On the eve of International Tolerance Day and National Press Day, Professor Ram Puniyani, Ananya Bharadwaj and Atul Loke were awarded the second Danish Siddiqui Freedom Award 2023 at a program organised by Kisan Trust here this evening.
As a social and human rights defender and for working for communal harmony Prof Puniyani got Life Time Achievement Award, Ananya for her coverage of Manipur and Atul for his valour as a photojournalist.
Professor Puniyani is a former professor of Biomedical Engineering and former senior Medical Officer affiliated with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. He began his medical career in 1973 and served IIT in various capacities for 27 years, beginning in 1977. He has been involved with human rights activities and initiatives to oppose Hindu fundamentalism in India and is currently President of the Executive Council of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism (CSSS).
Ananya Bhardwaj works as a Senior Assistant Editor for The Print. She writes on crime, law and order, terrorism, internal security and policing in Delhi and has travelled extensively to report on gender issues and social welfare, churning out a series of investigative and human-interest stories.
Atul Loke is a photojournalist. His work has been published in major international and national magazines and newspapers. He has worked for various domestic newspapers and magazines in India as a staff photographer and photo editor before going freelance. He is recipient of Japan’s Young Portfolio Award (2002) and a photography fellowship for three months in Europe in 2002 to enhance his photography and photo-editing skills with renowned photographers from National Geography and Magnum Photos.
The Danish Siddiqui Foundation is dedicated to promoting value-based journalism, recognizing its crucial role not only in reporting but also within newsrooms and beyond. This commitment is the cornerstone of all our programs.
The foundation is established in memory of renowned Pulitzer-winning photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2021. The foundation aims to promote and propagate value-based journalism through various programs and initiatives for students, professionals, and freelancers.
Danish Siddiqui was an Indian photojournalist based in Delhi, who used to lead the national Reuters multimedia team and was Chief Photographer in India. He received his first 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography, as part of the Reuters team, for documenting the Rohingya refugee crisis. In 2021, he was killed while covering a clash between Afghan security forces and Taliban forces near a border crossing with Pakistan. His second Pulitzer was awarded posthumously in 2022 for documenting the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 29 December 2021, Siddiqui was posthumously awarded ‘the Journalist of the Year’ for 2020 by the Mumbai Press Club. Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana presented the annual ‘RedInk Awards for Excellence in Journalism’.
In 2022, on the occasion of International Tolerance Day and National Press Day on November 16, Kisan Trust initiated Danish Siddiqui Freedom Award in his memory for his role as a pioneer of the fundamental right to freedom of expression in the society and to honor true and fair journalism.
Prof Yogendra Yadav, founder of Swaraj Abhiyan, Photojournalist Praveen Rai, noted historian Irfan Habib who were the jury members lauded the effort of Jayant Choudhary, chairman of RLD and president of Kisan Trust for trying to keep Danish Siddiqui alive through the award.
Father of Danish Akhtar Siddiqui said his son was a brave photojournalist and he used to work for the society through humanitarian perspective. He was not killed in crossfire but was captured and tortured and then killed. I am fighting his case in ICC through our lawyer Alvi Singh.
Manoj Jha, MP, Ex-MP and journalist Shahid Siddiqui and many others addressed the gathering and paid their tribute of Danish Siddiqui.