New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) Indian news portal The Wire has received the 2021 Free Media Pioneer Award instituted by the Vienna-based International Press Institute.

The Wire's founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan and national affairs editor Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty received the award at a ceremony held in the Austrian capital of Vienna on Thursday.

"The annual Free Media Pioneer Award was established by the International Press Institute (IPI) in 1996 to recognise media organisations that are innovating for better journalism and news access, or fighting for a better press freedom environment in their country or region. My organisation, International Media Support (IMS) is proud to jointly present the award since 2015,” Gulnara Akhundova of the IMS said.

She said she was “extremely grateful and proud to be here to announce that non-profit news site The Wire, a leader in India's digital news revolution and a tireless defender of independent, high-quality journalism, is the recipient of the 2021 Free Media Pioneer Award.” Vardarajan, after receiving the award, said, "Without a free, vibrant, independent media, citizens lose the ability to gain information about what's happening in society. They lose the ability to ask questions of those who are in authority." "They lose the ability to hold the power accountable. And in every country of the world when the media comes under pressure, make no mistake the real target for this pressure are the people whose rights have been suppressed," he said.