World Press Freedom Day: Why India Is Still Unsafe for Journalists

India ranks 142 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

Published03 May 2020, 09:13 AM IST
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2 min read

Video Editor: Varun Sharma

India ranks 142 in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Since 2016 the country has been consistently slipping in the rankings, from 133 to 142 in four years.

What explains this drop? Clearly, India is fast becoming a dangerous place for journalism and this poses serious threats on the independence and freedom of its press.

A study released in 2019 called ‘Getting Away with Murder’ studies the issue of press freedom in India in great detail. Researched by senior journalists Geeta Sheshu and Urvashi Sarkar, it deals with the killings of and attacks on journalists in India between 2014-2019 and justice delivery in these cases.

'Getting away with murder', a study on killings and attacks on journalists in India.
'Getting away with murder', a study on killings and attacks on journalists in India.
(Photo Courtesy: Geeta Sheshu)

Since 2014, there have been more than 200 serious attacks on journalists in India.

The study documented at least 40 killings of journalists, 21 of which were directly linked to their professional work. Seven were killed in 2019.

There were 198 serious instances of attacks on journalists between 2014-19 and at least 36 in 2019, many during the protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Convictions in the killing of journalists are near-zero. Of the over 30 killing of journalists since 2010, there were only three convictions.

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.

Since 2014, there has not been a single conviction in attacks on journalists in India, targeted for their investigative work.

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