An Indian-origin journalist has won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for investigative reports that shedding light on China's vast infrastructure for detaining thousands of Muslims in the Xinjiang province.
Megha Rajagopalan, along with contributors Alison Killing and Christo Buschek, won the US' top journalism award. They won the prestigious award for a series of innovative articles, which used satellite images, 3D architectural models and personal interviews with hundreds of Muslim detainees in Xinjiang region, reported BuzzFeed News, where Rajagopalan works.
Rajagopalan was one of the first to visit an internment camp for Uighur Muslims in 2017. China has continued to deny the existence of such camps. The news outlet said that the Chinese government tried to silence her, revoked her visa and forced her out of the country. At one point, the Chinese government posted her personal information, including a government identification number, on Twitter.
China cut off access to the entire region for western journalists. But Rajagopalan refused to bow down and teamed up with Killing, a licensed architect who specialises in forensic analysis of architecture and satellite images of buildings and Buschek, a programmer who builds tools tailored for data journalists and continued to work from London. They identified more than 260 structures that appeared to be fortified detention camps. One more journalist of Indian origin, Neil Bedi, won the prize under the local reporting category. Bedi wrote an investigative story with an editor at the Tampa Bay Times. It had exposed the misuse of authority by a police officer in Florida to track children.
The Pulitzer Prizes Board also awarded a special citation to Darnella Frazier, the teenager who recorded the killing of George Floyd. Frazier was cited "for courageously recording the murder of George Floyd, a video that spurred protests against police brutality, around the world, highlighting the crucial role of citizens in journalists' quest for truth and justice", the Pulitzer board stated.