Dear Reader,

In a stirring and evocative judgment last week, the Supreme Court of India has come out squarely on the side of privacy, citizen’s liberty and the freedom of the press, even as it ordered a probe into the Pegasus surveillance.

A landmark judgement with many firsts - it specifically and markedly engages with media freedom, asserting that unbridled surveillance by the state is “an assault on the vital public watchdog role of the press”. As ThePrint explains, the judgement also provides a framework for protection of journalists’ sources, defining it as “one of the basic conditions” for a free media. A first for India.

The Caravan reports that it required courage and, unfortunately, the life of a journalist, Ramchandra Chhatrapati, to convict Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the head of the religious cult ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’ who was sentenced to life imprisonment recently. Chhatrapati was killed for his fearless reporting on the criminal activities of Rahim, which inspired a clutch of civil society organisations, activists and journalists to carry on with his legacy despite real threats to their life and liberty.

While we mark the courage and sacrifice of Chhatrapati, HW News focuses on the just-published Global Impunity Index by CPJ - a global independent non-profit that promotes press freedom. It records that out of the 278 cases of journalists killed since 2011, 226 or 81 per cent of them remain unsolved. And India is placed 12th on this global ranking. An unenviable position.

EastMojo reports from Assam that the local people have re-enacted the Chipko Andolan, of the 1970s in Uttarakhand, against the National Highway Authority of India’s recent proposal to cut down Sal trees in thousands in Assam’s Dabaka Forest Reserve.

And, as world leaders converge in Glasgow, Scotland, for the 26th iteration of the annual climate summit - COP26 - Down To Earth examines the critical issue of the fast depleting carbon space and examines who should be allowed to emit, and how much.

For more such stories from the grantees this week, please read on.


Sunil Rajshekhar

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Supreme Court on Pegasus, its far-reaching significance for liberty & free press

Ordering an independent probe into the Pegasus snooping allegations, the Supreme Court of India came down heavily on the State’s penchant for using the “free pass” of national security to evade questions on the surveillance of citizens, including the media. ThePrint analyses.

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The Ram Rahim verdict is a win for unsung activists on the ground in Haryana

The courage of a journalist and activists from civil society organisations played a heroic role in the conviction of Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the head of the religious cult ‘Dera Sacha Sauda’, who was sentenced to life imprisonment on October 18 for the murder of a former devotee Ranjit Singh. The Caravan reports.

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World safe for journalists?

HW News reports on the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) annual Global Impunity Index 2021, published on October 28, which reveals that no one has been held accountable for the killings of 226 journalists across the globe so far, including 20 in India.

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Assam’s ‘Chipko’ movement: Protecting the ‘pride’ of Dabaka

EastMojo documents the protest in Assam, where citizens invoked the ‘Chipko’ Movement against the axing of thousands of Sal trees for expansion of the highway that passes through the Dabaka Forest Reserve.

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The numbers behind: Climate change

Down To Earth's Sunita Narain and Avantika Goswami examine the present reality of carbon emissions and the vexed question of how much each country should be allowed to emit on the road to zero emissions.

Read Here

More from the grantees
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The recent spate of targeted killings has unleashed a sense of fear and anxiety among the Kashmiri Pandits. Is history repeating itself, and is the recent surge in terror attacks leading to a mass migration of religious minorities? Mojo Story goes to the most-affected regions in Kashmir to find out.
Sparkle goes out in India’s fireworks capital
Even as the crackdown on the use of firecrackers to prevent pollution continues, workers and small business owners in Tamil Nadu are left to bear the brunt of the clampdown. Suno India travels to Sivakasi, India’s firecracker manufacturing hub, where over 6.5 lakh people are dependent on the income from such units.
സ്ത്രീധന പരാതി: ആര്‍ക്ക് കൊടുക്കണം, എങ്ങനെ കൊടുക്കണം?
TrueCopy Think details and analyses the new guidelines against dowry harassment in Kerala amidst the increasing cases of dowry-related incidents.
False anti-Muslim spin added to Kerala entrepreneur’s dispute over ‘no halal’ restaurant
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Khabar Lahariya narrates the struggles of students and teachers at a primary school in Gulariya Tola village in Sitamarhi district in Bihar because of the dilapidated state of toilets in the school.
'30 साल से जहां कर रहे थे नौकरी वहां से बाहर कर हमें कर दिया है दो वक्त की रोटी का मोहताज'
Janjwar reports from the ground in Srinagar, in Kashmir, where hundreds of women are protesting against the disengagement of 918 people, including helpers and supervisors in the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme of the Social Welfare Department.
Producing the Migrant Myth
Contrary to what is sought to be propagated and institutionalised, the narrative of migrants in Assam as “land-hungry migrants usurping land” and turning the Assamese into a minority in their own land is a myth, says The India Forum, and explains why.
India’s Hunger and Nutrition challenge
In the recently released Global Hunger Index, India was ranked 101 out of 116 countries, raising anxiety and debate. Think Pragati looks at the methodology of the Index and India’s challenges in addressing the issue of hunger.

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