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I am a human rights journalist, focusing on land rights, identity politics and gender. Since 2011, I have reported for The New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, NPR, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Open Democracy, Forbes, South China Morning Post, and The Hindu.

In my 16 years as a journalist, I have reported from more than a 100 districts across India and 13 countries in the world. I have been awarded the Chameli Devi Jain Award for Outstanding Media Personality, British Council Achievers Award and UNFPA Laadli Award.

Since 2007, I have worked with women, Adivasis (indigenous communities), women belonging to the oppressed castes, sexual minorities, refugees, undocumented migrants, sex workers, landless labourers, farmers, mental health patients, victims of natural disasters and transgender communities. I try to tell their stories with empathy and care.

My work highlights human rights abuses by the State – many times in conflict zones that are less discussed – thereby holding the powerful to account.

I have reported from the central Indian forests, where the Indian State has been fighting a low-intensity battle against left wing guerrilla forces for close to 4 decades now. I did stories on sexual violence by security forces in the region; extrajudicial executions of local populations; journalists’ safety in a conflict zone; and creation of special units to combat the rebels.

Reporting on more than a dozen long form stories from Kashmir – often said to be the world’s most militarised area – was challenging. The impact of militarism is tough to measure but I have done stories on inter-generational trauma; Mental health of Kashmiri women; and the future of Kashmiri children who come in conflict with the law.

In 2020, I co-authored a report on Gender Diversity in Indian Media, commissioned by UN Women. Additionally, I wrote detailed reports for the Committee to Protect Journalists, International Federation of Journalists and PEN International on media freedoms in India.

My work at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism focuses on media freedoms and innovation in Asian countries such as Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, China, Thailand, Indonesia,Vietnam and Taiwan, among others.

As a Fulbright scholar, I graduated from the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University in 2011.  I was a Summer Fellow at Standford University’s Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law in 2021. And a Chevening Fellow at the University of Westminster in 2015. As a Scripps Howard Fellow, I reported from Israel and the West Bank in 2011.

I hold a post graduate diploma in International Human Rights Law from the National Law School in Bangalore. In 2017, I graduated from the prestigious Film and Television Institute of India with a diploma in film appreciation, film critique and film archives.

In 2010, I secured a Post Graduate Diploma Programme in Conflict Transformation and Peacebuilding from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi.

November 23, 2017 in Interviewed

Chameli Devi Jain award winners named

Priyanka Kakodkar and Raksha Kumar were on Tuesday named as joint winners of the 2015-16 Chameli Devi Jain award for women journalists. "The Media Foundation's Chameli Devi Jain award for…
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July 5, 2016 in Interviewed

I feel very invested in Chattisgargh: Chameli Devi Award winning journalist Raksha Kumar

Talking on this edition of Active Bangalore is young and dynamic journalist from the city, Raksha Kumar, who is the joint winner of the prestigious Chameli Devi Jain award this…
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August 1, 2012 in Interviewed

Four scholarship winners offer invaluable tips

Four scholarship winners offer invaluable tips and insights on how to ace the gruelling application rounds and interviews. Nilkesh Patra, Aditya Birla Scholar The Aditya Birla Group launched their scholarship…
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