Two Indian origin journalists have bagged the Pulitzer Prizes for the year 2021. Megha Rajagopalan, a journalist working for BuzzFeed News, and Neil Bedi from Tampa Bay Times have bagged these awards under the International Reporting and local reporting categories respectively.
The Pulitzer Prize is awarded yearly in twenty-one categories with each winner receiving a certificate and a $15,000 cash award. The winner in the public service category is awarded a gold medal.
As per a report by PTI, Megha Rajagopalan along with Alison Killing and Christo Buschek bagged the award for exposing a vast infrastructure of prisons and mass detention camps secretly built by China. The prisons had detained and housed thousands of Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
According to BuzzFeed News, when China had started to detain Muslims in Xinjiang, Megha was the first journalist to visit a detention camp in 2017. China had denied such places existed and had her visa revoked. She was forced to leave the country.
Working from London, she along with Alison Killing, an architect specialising in forensic analysis of architecture and satellite images of buildings, and Christo Buschek, a programmer who builds tools tailored for data journalists, investigated and published one of the worst human rights abuses in history.
Neil Bedi, an investigative reporter for Tampa Bay Times along with Kathleen McGrory was awarded the top US award for exposing the Sheriff’s Office in Pasco County’s programme that could identify people believed to be future crime suspects using computer modelling. Nearly 1,000 people including children were monitored under the programme.
In an investigation, it was found that the powerful and politically connected sheriff had built a secretive intelligence operation that used grades and abuse histories to label school children as potential criminals. Neither the children nor their parents were aware of the Sheriff’s wrongdoings.