Soma Basu, an investigative journalist based out of New Delhi, received a Kurt Schork Award in November after exposing the harrowing ordeal of Nepali women trafficked and forced into supplying skin to India’s cosmetic surgery industry.
The $5,000 (£3,741) cash prize from winning the Local Reporter category at the Kurt Schork Awards, which recognise the work of journalists around the world reporting conflict, corruption and injustice, has enabled Basu to set up Reporter At-Large, an online community of journalists who work together to help support underreported stories in getting told.
"It is a network of reporters whose stories are pushed aside in newsrooms because of non-journalistic reasons, such as political or internal pressure," she said.
"There are a lot of relevant stories that slip through the cracks."
Basu, who has been covering issues of environmental justice and human rights in the subcontinent for over a decade, writes on Reporter At-Large that "news establishments are gradually turning into factories, who want to produce reporters who write the same, look the same, speak the same and think the same".
She told Journalism.co.uk that her colleagues in India are not free to write what they should be writing about, because the owners of news outlets want to further specific political or business agendas.
"We were not given space so we decided to create our own – nothing can stop us from writing," she said.
As well as appealing to "fellow warriors" – journalists who didn't comply with requests to toe the line – the website encourages readers who have a story not featured in the mainstream media to come forward with their ideas.
The journalists involved in Reporter At-Large can then choose to follow it up and further investigate the issue for publication on the site.
"India has 27 official languages, but the investigative pieces done in these regional languages seldom see the light of day because they are forgotten about very easily – if it is not in English, it is not reaching a wider audience," she said.
"We hope our network will enable such regional investigations to be picked up, translated and put out for the world to see."
Check out our podcast with Soma Basu, where she talks about her career and the story that earned her a 2017 Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism.
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