Anto Akkara, who writes for Catholic News Service from South Asia, is the recipient of the 2013 Titus Brandsma Award for the “stellar role” he has played in “highlighting the gross denial of fundamental rights and freedom of religion in the Kandhamal jungles of Orissa,” an East Indian state.
The award, from the Geneva-based International Christian Organization of the Media, a forum for professionals and institutions in secular and religious journalism, will be awarded at the organization’s world congress in Panama City Sept. 29-Oct. 6. It is named after Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Dutch journalist and Carmelite priest who died in 1942 at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany.
Akkara has written for Catholic News Service on topics such as the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and, afterward, church efforts to help the displaced; human rights violations in Sri Lanka; and flooding in Pakistan.
Akkara who has won several media awards for his investigative book “Kandhamal: A Blot on Indian Secularism,” following the anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal in August 2008. His latest book on Kandhamal, “Early Christians of 21st Century,” was released in February.
He has a master’s degree in English literature, post-graduate diploma in journalism and LL.B from Delhi University.