Sonali Dhawan

Sonali Dhawan joined CPJ as an Asia researcher in 2021. Previously, she served as a program officer with the American Bar Association Center for Human Rights and worked with Save the Children, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International USA. Dhawan holds a bachelor’s degree in government and Arabic and Islamic studies from Georgetown University. She speaks Hindi, Urdu, and Arabic.

14 years on, wife of missing Sri Lankan journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda fights for justice

“I don’t know how long it will take, but I will get justice for my Prageeth,” Sandya Ekneligoda, wife of abducted Sri Lankan journalist and government critic Prageeth Ekneligoda, told CPJ via video call. It has been 14 years since Prageeth’s disappearance. Prageeth, a then 50-year-old cartoonist and columnist for the news website Lanka e…

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‘An open-air prison’: Kashmiri journalists on how travel bans undermine press freedom

When Indian immigration officials stopped freelance Kashmiri journalist Aakash Hassan at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi international airport on July 26, they held him for several hours and questioned him about his family, his professional background and his reason for traveling – and refused to allow him to board his Sri Lanka flight because, they said, he was listed…

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Keeping hope alive

Afghan journalists in exile continue reporting despite an uncertain future “I lost my family, my job, my identity, and my country,” Afghan journalist Anisa Shaheed told CPJ in a phone interview. A former Kabul-based reporter for TOLONews, Afghanistan’s largest local broadcaster, Shaheed is one of hundreds of journalists who fled Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover…

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Aasif Sultan, Fahad Shah, Sajad Gul

Kashmir media at a ‘breaking point’ amid rising number of journalist detentions

Sajad Gul’s mother had prepared his favorite dishes as she anxiously awaited his return home. The Kashmiri journalist, who had been granted bail the day before, on January 15, 2022, was to be released following his arrest earlier that month in a criminal conspiracy case, according to a journalist friend who spoke on condition of…

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‘Completely unclear’: Mushtaq Ahmed’s lawyer seeks answers on how the Bangladeshi writer died in jail

One year after renowned Bangladeshi writer Mushtaq Ahmed died in jail, the circumstances of his death remain murky. While an investigative committee formed by the Home Ministry claimed he died of “natural causes,” his former lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua believes that Ahmed may have died of health issues that arose after alleged torture.  In May 2020, the Rapid Action Battalion,…

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Exiled Bangladeshi journalist Kanak Sarwar says sister’s detention won’t silence him

For years, exiled Bangladeshi journalist Kanak Sarwar advised his family members not to keep public profiles on Facebook, fearing his critical reporting would lead to harassment by supporters of the Awami League-led government. So he was alarmed when his sister, Nusrat Shahrin Raka, told him in September that someone had created a fake Facebook account…

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After a harrowing escape, a family of Afghan journalists prepares for a new life in the US

The day Kabul fell to the Taliban, was the “end of the line for us as journalists,” said Shiraz Noorani. That day, August 15, 2021, was when the Nooranis, a family of five current and former Afghan journalists, decided to flee the country. Four months later, four of the Nooranis — siblings Shiraz, Ghazal, and…

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