PUCL Bulletin, May 2002

Citation for the Winner of Twenty-first PUCL Journalism for Human Rights Award, 2001 Rani George

Rani George, hailing from Kottayam District of Kerala, is a trained journalist working with the Malayala Manorama group since 1996.

What she reported about in a series last year no training can teach. Her series on "Party Villages" required courage, guts, and grit. She has amply demonstrated these elements. For those living outside these regions, the label "Party Villages" may not mean anything. On the ground these are the villages where, according to her accounts, even the police had failed to enter. She obtained her information from people who seemed to be fed up of violence, especially women who had lost a husband or children, people who had been deprived of their right to live with dignity. She even managed to visit the training camp of a party. Her work endangered her life. Her travails followed her to her newspaper desk and she had to change her place of work.

The second series that she had submitted covered the Kerala State Human Rights Commission. This series required another type of sensitivity. It required a mind sensitive to suffering and the intellectual capacity to see through the bureaucratic routine on the on hand and suffering and injustice covered by the maze of files on the other. The non-'commissioned Human Rights' was a three part series that uncovered the exercise in futility that the State Commission has been reduced to. The Commission itself cannot be blamed wholly.

Basically it is the government that has reduced the Commission to a charade. A lack of genuine commitment to Human Rights and the necessity to fulfill a Constitutional obligation is the core of this 'game'.

The Jury of the twenty-first PUCL 'Journalism for Human Rights' Award selected Rani George for the award for her valuable contribution to Human Rights journalism.

K.G. Kannabiran, President,
People's Union for Civil Liberties
March 23, 2002 Mangalore