The Commonwealth Press Union (CPU) Media Trust’s Astor Award – one of the most prestigious and oldest press media freedom awards in the world, first presented in 1970 – has been presented to ground-breaking Indian publication, Khabar Lahariya. The Award is made to honour their contribution to media freedom and investigative journalism, and their commitment to diversity and equality.

Khabar Lahariya is India’s only women-run independent news outlet, bringing hard-hitting and powerful investigative journalism, human interest stories, and vibrant cultural and entertainment content from the country’s remote areas with little access to news. Starting as a print newspaper in 2002, with hyperlocal content and stories often written from a feminist perspective for a rural and semi-rural audience, it now has a network of 25 female reporters across six states in north India and an audience of up to 20 million. 

Speaking at a reception in the House of Lords – where the Award was presented by the Rt Hon Sir John Whittingdale, MP, Minister of State for Media –  CPU Chairman Lord Black of Brentwood said: “Our Trustees have this year decided unanimously to present the prestigious Astor Award to Khabar Lahariya in view of their exceptional contribution to media freedom, promoting independent quality journalism, championing diversity, and ground-breaking investigative reporting in often difficult and complex circumstances. They are worthy winners and we congratulate them.”

Receiving the Award, Meera Davi, Managing Editor of Khabar Lahariya, and Pooja Pande, co-CEO of Chambal Media, publisher of Khabar Lahariya said: “We’ve been fighting the good fight for under-represented voices since our inception in the early 2000s, because we strongly believe in the power of the word changing the world. While the journey itself is the greatest reward, a mighty recognition like the Astor Award really motivates us to continue doing the work, fighting the good fight. We’re very grateful to the CPU Media Trust for this honour.”