Priyanka Borpujari Named 2012-13 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow
Washington, D.C. – The International Women’s Media Foundation has selected Priyanka Borpujari, an independent journalist based in Mumbai, India, as the 2012-13 IWMF Elizabeth Neuffer Fellow. Borpujari is the eighth recipient of the annual fellowship, which gives a woman journalist working in print, broadcast or online media the opportunity to build skills while focusing exclusively on human rights journalism and social justice issues.
Borpujari was chosen from a pool of 85 candidates; runners-up were Lin Meilian of China, a senior reporter and war-zone correspondent for the Global Times; and Nada Alwadi of Bahrain, an independent journalist.
Borpujari, 27, has worked as a reporter for six years for publications including Mumbai Mirror, The Asian Age and exchange4media.com. Since launching her freelance career three years ago, she has focused on the plight of indigenous groups that are being systematically displaced from their land.
Borpujari reported on the ways in which indigenous populations in the state of Chhattisgarh were being caught in a war between a government keen on displacing them to make way for mines and factories, and armed Maoists. Her reports brought focus to what she describes as “deprived, malnourished, burning India,” even as false police charges were levied against her in an attempt to keep her away from reporting in the region. She says she has “attempted to uncover the gory hidden civilian war for resources in India, which is often ignored by the mainstream media, in its rush to portray a shining, emerging economy.”
Beginning in September, Borpujari will spend the seven-month fellowship as a research associate in residence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for International Studies. She will also complete internships at The Boston Globe and The New York Times.
Borpujari hopes to explore topics such as malnutrition, hunger, displacement and violence, especially in light of India’s surging gross domestic product. She would like to “return home to report … in a better, stronger way, which would hopefully have an impact on policies, or at least in the way we perceive development."
One of Borpujari’s editors, Rana Bose of the Montreal Serai, described Borpujari’s versatility as a reporter: “Priyanka is an extraordinarily bold, incisive journalist who is particularly adept at researching fundamental human rights and civic society issues in a pre-industrial society, while at the same time deploying the skill sets required of a journalist from an advanced democracy.”
The fellowship is named for Elizabeth Neuffer, a Boston Globe reporter and the winner of a 1998 IWMF Courage in Journalism Award who was killed while on assignment in Iraq in 2003. Neuffer’s life mission was to promote international understanding of human rights and social justice. For further information about the fellowship, visitwww.iwmf.org/neuffer.
Founded in 1990, the IWMF is the only nonprofit organization working exclusively to strengthen the role of women in the news media worldwide. The IWMF has conducted programs in 25 countries, and its network includes women and men in the media in more than 130 countries worldwide. For more information, visit www.iwmf.org.