Masrat Zahra (born 8 December 1993) is a freelance photojournalist from Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. She focuses on stories about local communities and women. She won the 2020 “Anja Niedringhaus Courage” in Photojournalism award from International Women’s Media Foundation and Peter Mackler Award for Courageous and Ethical Journalism 2020.
Zahra is from Hawal, Srinagar and studied journalism at Central University of Kashmir. She photographs the Kashmir conflict and her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Humanitarian, TRT World, Al Jazeera, The Caravan, The Sun, The News Arab and The World Weekly.
In April 2018, she was labelled as a police informer after she shared an image from an encounter site on her Facebook.
On 3 August 2019, before the clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, she was asked to submit work for Journalists Under Fire, an exhibition in New York city which was organised by United Photo Industries and St Ann’s Warehouse in collaboration with Committee to Protect Journalists. On the same day, she was contacted by a French magazine for assignments with Real Kashmir F.C., a sports magazine. Due to a communications blackout that started on 5 August 2019, these offers could not be fulfilled.
In April 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir Police named Zahra in an FIR under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, which is normally used for targeting terrorists. The police said they had been informed that Zahra was uploading “anti-national posts” to Facebook with “criminal intention to induce the youth”, whereas she had only uploaded her published photographs. The move was condemned by 450 activists and scholars as an instance of targeting of journalists.