Winner 2022

Independent Lens: Writing with Fire

Black Ticket Films (PBS)

The fearless journalists of India’s only all-female newspaper redefine traditional notions of power in Writing With Fire, a gripping film from Independent Lens about the intrepid team behind the success of the news outlet Khabar Lahariya. The women risk it all in a male-dominated media landscape to cover stories of violence against women, municipal corruption, and religious separatism in rural regions that still don’t recognize them as equals, let alone bonafide journalists. But their passion and bravery in the face of gender and class bias drive this beautifully shot documentary from directors Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh. The filmmakers follow this ambitious group of Dalit, or “low-caste,” women as they pivot from print to digital in order to expand their publication’s reach from an underground news network to an independent media empire. Khabar Lahariya’s YouTube site now has over 10 million views. For highlighting the awe-inspiring efforts of these courageous female reporters on the front lines of India’s leading issues and for its inspiring embodiment of tenacious, local journalism, Peabody honors Independent Lens: Writing with Fire.


Showrunner: Amy Shatsky. Executive Producers: Lois Vossen, Sally Jo Fifer, Hallee Adelman, Patty Quillin. Producers/Associate Producers and Directors and Editors: Rintu Thomas, Sushmit Ghosh. Reporters/Correspondents: Meera Devi, Suneeta Prajapati, Shyamkali Devi.

Cinematography: Sushmit Ghosh, Karan Thapliyal. Sound/Music: Tajdar Junaid.