Institute of Politics

Rana Ayyub

Investigative Journalist from India

  • Fall 2022 Pritzker Fellow

  • Seminar Series: "Living & Reporting in the World’s Largest Democracy"


Rana Ayyub is an Indian investigative journalist and global opinions writer at The Washington Post. She has worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with some of the leading publications in India and internationally. Her pieces appear in TIME, The New York Times, The Guardian and Foreign Policy, among other publications. Rana and her work have been profiled by publications including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, TIME, The Guardian and The Observer, among others. She was an editor with Tehelka, a leading investigative magazine in India. Rana has reported on religious violence, extrajudicial killings by the state, insurgency in Kashmir, terrorism by the Tamil tigers in Sri Lanka and authored an international bestseller, Gujarat Files: Anatomy of a Cover-Up. The book details the undercover investigation when, posing as a film student at the American Film Institute Conservatory, Rana went underground with 8 body cameras to expose what she describes as the complicity of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in state-sponsored genocide in the year 2002.

In a career spanning sixteen years, Rana has been awarded the Sanskriti award for integrity and excellence in journalism by the President of India. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Global Shining Light award for investigative journalism and was named Most Resilient Global Journalist of 2018 at the Peace Palace in Hague. Also in 2018, the United Nations allotted six special rapporteurs to the Indian government to protect her safety, a first for an individual case in India. In 2019 and 2022, she was named as one of the ten most endangered global journalists in the world. In 2020, she was the recipient of the McGill Medal for Journalistic Courage.

She is presently working on a memoir and an adaptation of her book, Gujarat Files. In 2022, for the second time in three years, the UN wrote to India to protect her from state-enabled attacks and persecution in response to her journalism. In April of 2022, Rana was awarded the Overseas Press Club of America Award for the best international commentary. She is 38 and lives in Mumbai with her family.


"Living & Reporting in the World’s Largest Democracy"

As a citizen, a journalist, and a practicing Muslim, I have been reporting from India and other neighboring countries for the last fifteen years. I have closely observed the functioning and decline of democratic values. I have witnessed authoritarian regimes, dictators, fascist and xenophobic ideas take over nations that once took pride in their liberal and pluralistic values. From India to the United States, from the world’s largest democracy to the world’s greatest democracy, how do journalists around the world report this new world order? Can democracy survive one of the worst assaults in its history? If the World’s largest democracy (India) goes down under, ripples will be felt across the world. In India, like other authoritarian regimes, journalists are the new enemy of the state. How do journalists report this churn while they are intimidated, threatened and silenced? We’ll discuss India and talk to journalists and experts from around the world to understand this new world order.

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