The Astor Award, given by the Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) Media Trust, is one of the most respected and oldest awards for media freedom. It started in 1970. They’ve now given this award to an innovative Indian news outlet called Khabar Lahariya. They got this award for their work in supporting media freedom and investigative journalism and for being committed to diversity and equality.
Khabar Lahariya is a unique news source in India. It’s run by women and provides strong investigative journalism, human interest stories, and exciting cultural and entertainment content from remote parts of the country where it’s hard to get news. They started as a small newspaper in 2002, with local news and stories often told from a women’s perspective for people in rural and semi-rural areas. Now, they have 25 female reporters in six northern Indian states, and about 20 million people follow their news.
The Award was given in the House of Lords by Sir John Whittingdale, the Minister of State for Media. Lord Black of Brentwood, the Chairman of CPU, said, “Our Trustees all agreed to give the special Astor Award to Khabar Lahariya because they’ve done a great job in supporting media freedom, promoting good independent journalism, and doing important investigative reporting in tough situations. They really deserve this award, and we’re happy for them.”
Meera Davi, who is the Managing Editor of Khabar Lahariya, and Pooja Pande, who is the co-CEO of Chambal Media, the company that publishes Khabar Lahariya, accepted the award. They said, “Since we started in the early 2000s, we’ve been working hard to give a voice to underrepresented people. We believe that words can change the world. While the journey itself is a great reward, getting an important award like the Astor Award encourages us to keep doing our important work. We’re very thankful to the CPU Media Trust for this honor.”