Maya Mirchandani is an award winning Indian journalist who now teaches Media Studies and Broadcast News at India’s premier Liberal Arts institution, Ashoka University. She focuses on principles and practice of conflict journalism in an environment where free speech, debate and dissent are increasingly challenged, condemned, or silenced. Maya moved to research and teaching after over two decades as with NDTV, the country’s first and leading private news network.
She has received a B.A in History and post graduate diplomas in Mass Communications and World Politics- subjects which have influenced her award winning reportage on Indian foreign policy, conflict and national politics. Maya has won the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for Excellence in Journalism twice, the Red Ink Award for reporting on human rights as well as the Exchange for Media Broadcast Journalism Award for best international affairs reporting. She now debates and discusses national security, human rights and Indian diplomacy on a weekly video blog called Wide Angle with Maya Mirchandani for a digital news platform, TheWire.in
For Maya, the doors of reporting haven’t always open up peacefully. She survived a suicide bomb attack at President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s election rally in 1999, reported on 9/11 as the planes hit the World Trade Center in New York and survived pro government mobs attacking the media during the Anti-Mubarak protests in Cairo, Egypt. From Moscow to Washington DC, Cairo to Islamabad, Freetown, Sierra Leone to Rangoon, and several places in between, Maya has traveled extensively, always in search of a good story to tell.
In addition to teaching, Maya is also involved in research on ‘Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism’ (P/CVE) at the Delhi based think tank, Observer Research Foundation. Her research looks for ways to build counter narratives to prevent radicalization and extremist violence through dialogue and community intervention. The analysis of hate speech and the impact of counter speech messaging on social media is also a core focus of her research.
Among her passions are Music and the Arts. Time permitting she learns Hindustani vocal music and takes the odd painting lesson. In fact, using the soft power of creativity is an invaluable tool of communication- one Maya wishes governments and politicians around the world would use more effectively.