Mohammed Zubair wins 2023 Freedom of Expression award by London-based Index on Censorship

News Network
October 20, 2023

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Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair on Friday, October 20, won the 2023 Freedom of Expression Award in journalism, which is awarded by the Index on Censorship.

“Zubair faced significant threats after challenging mis/disinformation propagated by influential members of the ruling party,” Index on Censorship said.

Index on Censorship is a London-based non-profit organisation campaigning for freedom of expression. The annual Freedom of Expression Awards, are handed out in four categories – arts, campaigning, journalism and trustee – to those having a “significant impact fighting censorship anywhere in the world,” according to the organisation.

Commenting on him receiving the award, Zubair said that the award would “serve as a flicker of hope” for his young colleagues.

“It’s both an honour and privilege to receive the [Index on Censorship] Freedom of Expression [award], especially at a time when fake news and disinformation has emerged as a Frankenstein monster here in India,” Zubair said in a video posted by the organisation.

The fact-checker expressed gratitude to those who “stood by me when I was attacked, slandered and even jailed for doing my job”.

While announcing the nominees in September, Index on Censorship highlighted Zubair’s work and his arrest in June last year. “Using both his personal Twitter account, as well as the outlet’s website, Mohammed Zubair and his colleagues have reported on inter-communal violence in India, the actions of vigilante groups, as well as the use of social media platforms to amplify hate speech.”

The other nominees in the category were Franco-Afghan journalist Mortaza Behboudi and Bilan Media, which is Somalia’s first women-only media organisation.

Zubair was jailed for 24 days last year till he was granted bail by the Supreme Court. The Alt News co-founder is facing six cases in Uttar Pradesh and one case in Delhi in connection with allegations of promoting enmity between groups and hurting religious sentiments.

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News Network
May 21,2024

Mysuru district Congress Committee, Women's wing, City General Secretary has been allegedly murdered by her husband at Turaganur of T Narsipur taluk Mysuru district in Bannur police station limits on Monday night.

The deceased, Vidya (36), was a resident of Srirampura, her husband, Nandish allegedly killed her when he hit her with a machete after they engaged into a verbal duel on Monday night. The accused escaped after the incident.

The incident has reportedly occurred due to a family dispute. However the exact reason is yet to be ascertained, according to police.

Mysuru district SP Seema Latkar, ASP Nandini have visited the spot along with Bannur Police.

A complaint has been filed in Bannur police station. They are in the process of filing an FIR. The police have shifted the body to K R Hospital in Mysuru for the autopsy and is looking for the accused.

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News Network
May 23,2024

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Bengaluru: JD(S) patriarch and former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda on Thursday issued a 'stern warning' to his grandson and suspended party MP, Prajwal Revanna, asking him to return to the country and face probe into sexual abuse allegations, while asserting there will be no interference from him or other family members into the enquiry.

He asked Prajwal, the party's Hassan MP who is facing allegations of sexual harassment of many women, to return to India and surrender before the police. Prajwal had flown reportedly to Germany in the last week of April.

The JD(S) supremo reiterated that his grandson should be given the harshest punishment under the law "if found guilty".

"At this juncture, I can do only one thing; I can issue a stern warning to Prajwal and ask him to return from wherever he is and surrender before the police. He should subject himself to the legal process," the 92-year-old veteran politician said in a statement on X (formerly Twitter).

Gowda made it clear it was "not an appeal that I am making, it is a warning that I am issuing".

"If he does not heed this warning, he will have to face my anger and anger of all his family members. The law will take care of the accusations against him, but not listening to the family will ensure his total isolation. If he has any respect left for me, he has to return immediately," Gowda said.

"I wish to also make it clear that I will ensure that there will be no interference in the enquiry against him from me or my family members. There is no emotion in this regard in my mind whatsoever, there is only the cause of justice for those who have suffered as a result of his alleged actions and misdeeds," the former PM added.

He recalled he had spoken to the media about Prajwal Revanna on May 18.

"It took me some time to recover from the shock and pain he (Prajwal) has inflicted on me, my entire family, my colleagues, friends and party workers. I have already said he should be given the harshest punishment under the law if found guilty," the nonagenarian leader said.

Stating that he was aware that people had spoken 'harshest' words against him and his family in the last few weeks, apparently over the issue, Gowda said he would not wish to stop them, criticise them and argue with them saying "that they should have waited until all the facts were found out".

He also cannot convince people that he was unaware of Prajwal's activities, or that he has no desire to shield him, unaware of his movements, and also about his foreign trip.

"I believe in answering to my conscience. I believe in God and I know the Almighty knows the truth," the JD(S) patriarch said.

He also opted "not to comment on political conspiracies, exaggerations, provocations and falsehoods that have been maliciously spread in recent weeks."

"I am very sure people who have done it will have to answer to God and pay for it heavily one day. I place my truth and my burdens at the feet of the Lord," he said.

The former Prime Minister underlined that it was of utmost importance for him to earn back the trust of the people.

"It is of utmost importance to me to earn back the trust of the people. They have stood by me for over 60 years of my political life and I am deeply indebted to them. As long as I am alive, I will never let them down," he said.

Prajwal, who is seeking re-election from Hassan as an NDA candidate, is absconding and is holed up abroad ever since a huge cache of explicit videos become public, showing women being sexually assaulted allegedly by him.

There are two rape cases registered against Prajwal. An arrest warrant has also been issued against him besides a blue corner notice by the Interpol.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has written to the Centre to cancel his diplomatic passport.

Prajwal’s father and Holenarasipura MLA H D Revanna is out on bail in two cases. One is related to molestation of a cook, who was also allegedly raped by Prajwal, and the other relates to the kidnap of a woman.

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News Network
May 17,2024

Forbes has released its ninth edition of the “30 Under 30 Asia” list, celebrating 300 young entrepreneurs, leaders, and trailblazers under 30 who are driving innovation and transforming industries across the Asia-Pacific region. 

Here's a list of Indians who made it to the Forbes list:

ENTERTAINMENT

Pavithra Chari
Pavithra Chari, a trained singer-composer, gained recognition as half of the duo Shadow and Light with Anindo Bose. Their collaboration with the Berklee Indian Ensemble earned a Grammy nomination in 2023. She is also part of the Anirudh Varma Collective, touring the US, and is skilled in Bharatnatyam dance. Ms Chari is also known for covering film hits.

Arpan Kumar Chandel (King)
Indian rapper Arpan Kumar Chandel, also known as King, became known worldwide when Nick Jonas remixed his hit song 'Maan Meri Jaan'. Mr King got famous on MTV Hustle in 2019 and has released many albums since. His latest, 'New Life', features artists like Nikhita Gandhi and Gucci Mane. He's also Sony Audio's ambassador and launched his fragrance, Blanko.

CONSUMER TECHNOLOGY

Kush Jain 
Kush Jain discovered the challenges faced by the visually impaired during a volunteering stint at a Bangalore school in 2018. Motivated to help, he co-founded ORama AI. Their innovative solution, a smart glove, helps the blind and those with reduced vision to learn Braille. The glove features an embedded camera and speaker, tracking finger movements and audibly identifying touched Braille dots.

Arth Chowdhary, Deyvant Bhardwaj and Oshi Kumari 
Arth Chowdhary, Deyvant Bhardwaj and Oshi Kumari co-founded InsideFPV, an Indian drone startup, in 2020. Their main product is an easy-to-use "plug-and-fly" drone, unlike others that require a complex setup. Based in Surat, the company also sells drones and parts online. 

Pranav Manpuria (Flux Auto)
Autonomous driving startup Flux Auto was co-founded by Pranav Manpuria in 2017. The company is working on creating self-driving software for forklifts and warehouse robots. They claim their technology can easily fit into existing systems of infrastructure.

Arun Sreyas and Gautham Maheswaran (RACE Energy)
In 2018, university friends Arun Sreyas and Gautham Maheswaran created RACE Energy. Headquartered in Hyderabad, the startup specialises in creating swappable battery packs tailored for the popular three-wheeled auto-rickshaws in India.

Harshit Jain and Abhik Saha 
Harshit Jain and Abhik Saha co-founded OnePlay, a cloud gaming startup in Mumbai in 2019. OnePlay allows users to play popular games like Baldur's Gate 3 and Palworld across multiple platforms without needing expensive hardware. 

ENTERPRISE TECHNOLOGY

Kunal Aggarwal
Kunal Aggarwal launched Credflow in 2019, offering cashflow management software for small and medium-sized enterprises. The platform analyses business data, sends automated payment reminders, and extends credit lines to eligible users. 

Gaurav Piyush, Mayank Varshney and Yash Sharma
Gaurav Piyush, Mayank Varshney and Yash Sharma came together to establish Blitz, a logistics startup, in 2020. Based in Gurugram, the company, formerly known as Grow Simplee, specialises in offering same- or next-day delivery services by using a network of warehouses and fulfilment centres.

Aditya Dadia
Aditya Dadia founded AIwrite in 2022, providing new digital software for India's insurance sector. Based in Mumbai, the startup uses machine learning to help insurance companies analyze risks and develop products faster. 

FINANCE AND VENTURE CAPITAL

Aalesh Avlani (CWC)
Aalesh Avlani, a Boston University graduate, co-founded Credit Wise Capital (CWC), a finance company specialising in providing loans for motorcycles. Founded in 2019, CWC received $6 million in startup funding the following year. They use technology like a WhatsApp bot to quickly assess creditworthiness, making it easier for people with no credit history to apply for loans.  

Srinivas Sarkar and Kushagra Manglik (Coupl)
Srinivas Sarkar and Kushagra Manglik co-founded Coupl, India's bank designed for couples of all types. Launched in early 2022, the startup helps couples, irrespective of marital status or sexual orientation, effectively manage their finances with joint accounts and linked ATM cards.

Aniket Damle
Aniket Damle works with Blackstone's private equity investment team in Asia, focusing on investments in India's healthcare, consumer, and industrial sectors. At just 23 years old, he made his first deal when Blackstone collaborated with Sona BLW to establish Sona Comstar, a technology platform company focused on electric vehicles, in 2018.

Yashvardhan Kanoi (Alter Global)
Yashvardhan Kanoi heads investments at Alter Global, a venture capital firm linking Silicon Valley with startups in emerging markets. Since 2019, he led investments in companies across Southeast Asia, South Asia, and Latin America like Ula, BukuKas, and CoLearn.

Manish Maryada (Fello)
Manish Maryada co-founded Fello, a fintech startup based in India. Fello offers rewards to users to make investing enjoyable. When users invest a certain amount through the app, they receive a ticket to play in-house games and win rewards and prizes. Founded in 2021, Fello has been downloaded over a million times and has raised over $5 million in funding.

Anuj Srivastava and Priyesh Srivastava (OnFinance AI)
Anuj Srivastava and Priyesh Srivastava (not related) co-founded OnFinance AI, a Bengaluru-based startup. They developed NeoGPT, a ChatGPT-like service tailored for the finance industry, which helps analyse data, generate forecasts, and conduct financial market research.

HEALTHCARE AND SCIENCE

Karan Ahuja
Google research scientist Karan Ahuja will become an assistant professor of computer science at Northwestern University starting in September 2024. With a PhD in human-computer interaction from Carnegie Mellon University, Mr Ahuja has focused on projects like body-movement sensing for smartwatches and gaze-tracking for smartphone control. His work has earned nearly 1,000 citations over the past five years. 

Aryan Chauhan
Aryan Chauhan, along with his mother Monika Chauhan, co-founded Zivov in 2021 with the aim of helping with diabetes treatment. Their solution involves a self-developed sensor that attaches to the skin to monitor blood sugar levels. Users can access the results through Zivov's smartphone app.

INDUSTRY, MANUFACTURING AND ENERGY

Akshit Bansal and Raghav Arora (Statiq)
Akshit Bansal, CEO of Statiq, got the idea for greener transportation while biking through Bengaluru's polluted streets. After a failed car-sharing venture with his friend Raghav Arora, they shifted their focus to electric vehicles. Their Gurgaon-based company, Statiq, now operates a nationwide network of charging stations for electric cars, buses, trucks, and three-wheelers. The company has raised $27.5 million from investors and expects to post its first operating profit in the next financial year.

Ankit Jain and Narayan Lal Gurjar (EF Polymer)
Ankit Jain and Narayan Lal Gurjar co-founded the agriculture startup EF Polymer in 2018. Their company has created a powder-like water-retention product made from biodegradable materials like bananas and orange peels. This product helps retain moisture in the soil and enhance crop yields by absorbing excess water and gradually releasing it.

Chirag Jain and Rama Krishna Mendu (EndureAir Systems)
Chirag Jain and Rama Krishna Mendu founded EndureAir Systems, a drone startup, in 2018. The Noida-based company has created three drone models for mapping, monitoring, and logistics. One of them is battery-powered and can carry up to 15 kg while travelling 15 km.  

Rahil Gupta (Hop Electric Mobility)
Rahil Gupta co-founded Hop Electric Mobility, an electric motorbike startup, in 2020. The company offers three products priced between ₹66,790 and ₹1,33,580. Their premium Oxo bike, for instance, can reach speeds of up to 95 km per hour and cover 150 km on a single charge

MEDIA, MARKETING AND ADVERTISING

Kavan Antani

Kavan Antani is one of the co-founders of IndieFolio, a Mumbai-based on-demand talent marketplace catering to creative professionals. Launched in 2014, the platform serves as a connection hub for designers, animators, content creators, and video producers with clients seeking talent. IndieFolio boasts a talent pool of over 70,000 individuals and counts major clients like Paytm, Ogilvy, and Domino's Pizza.

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