Only 3 Convictions in 40 Murders of Journalists Since 2010: Study

The study says that 21 of the 40 killings of journalists since 2014 are directly linked to professional work.

3 min read
Indian journalists wear helmets to interview BJP leader in Raipur.

A study on attacks on journalists in India has recorded that only three out of almost 200 attacks have resulted in convictions since 2010. The study further states that there have been 40 murders of journalists since 2014, and that 21 of these deaths were directly linked to their professional work. The study was commissioned by the Thakur Family Foundation.

The three convictions took place in the cases of journalists Jyotirmoy Dey, Rajesh Mishra and Tarun Acharya. FIRs were filed or trials have begun in all other cases but “we are nowhere near justice”, the study said. According to the report, these attacks are allegedly committed by “irate mobs, supporters of religious sects, political parties, student groups, lawyers, police and security forces.”

In a fourth case of journalist Ram Chandra Chhattrapati, killed in 2002, it took 17 years for justice to be delivered in the life imprisonment order for Dera Sacha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim.

The study also concludes that at least 36 of the 198 “serious” attacks on journalists since 2014 took place in 2019, some during the recent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.

The report’s findings included instances of journalists being “fired upon, blinded by pellet guns, forced to drink liquor laced with urine or urinated upon, kicked, beaten and chased”.
“Journalists covering conflict or news events were specifically targeted by irate mobs, supporters of religious sects, political parties, student groups, lawyers, police and security forces.”

The study states that there has been an increase in attacks on women journalists. It sources this statement from studying targeted attacks on those reporters covering the entry of women in Kerala’s Sabarimala temple.

Out of the 63 cases investigated for the study, First Information Reports (FIR) were only filed for 25 cases, with counter complaints filed in three. In almost half the FIR cases, the study reports "there is no information at all and even the affected journalists do not know what happened post the attacks.”

Editors Guild India Condemns Police Brutality on Journalists

The Editors Guild of India on Monday, 23 December, also condemned the "violence and brutality" on journalists during ongoing protests in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh and said such actions "throttle" the voice of democracy.

Several journalists were detained in both Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka while they were covering the protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. This included Omar Rashid, a correspondent for The Hindu newspaper who was detained in Lucknow.

In a statement, the Guild said that the forces should remember that journalists are present at protest venues to perform their constitutionally guaranteed duty of gathering news.

“The Editors Guild of India condemns the various acts of violence and brutality committed by police forces, in particular in Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, against media persons in different parts of the country in the last one week.

"The Guild reminds the police forces across the country that journalists are present at different venues where protests are taking place, as part of their constitutionally guaranteed duties of gathering information and disseminating it among the people through their respective media platforms. Using force or physical violence against journalists on duty throttles the very voice of democracy and media freedom," it said.

The Guild asked the Home Ministry to direct police forces to offer protection to journalists and instead of targeting them, the need of the hour was to ensure "proper" and "responsible" coverage which they said cannot be achieved by such acts of violence and brutality against journalists on duty.

(With inputs from PTI)

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