Skip to main content

Journalists' murder: No respite from attack on press freedom in South Asia, world over

Journalists protest against attacks on colleagues during Delhi riots
By Nava Thakuria*
Even as attacks on journalists continue unabated in South Asia and across the world, Pakistan has reported the murder of a journalist this year, whereas India has so far not reported any across the country. Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF) indicates that nine journalists have been killed till date this year while on duty. Highest number of casualties are reported from Iraq (3) followed by Syria (2), Pakistan (1), Somalia (1), Nigeria (1) and Paraguay (1).
India witnessed one targeted casualty last year, though in all nine journalists were killed because of other reasons. Across the world, 49 scribes lost their lives while on duty. Except Pakistan and Bangladesh, India’s other neighbours namely Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Tibet (under China), and Bhutan evaded any incident of scribe’s murder in 2019.
According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), Mexico tops the list with 10 incidents of journalist’s killings last year, followed by Afghanistan ( 5), Syria (5), Pakistan (4), Somalia (3), Yemen (2), Philippines (2), Brazil (2), Haiti (2), Honduras ( 2), Iraq (1), Haiti (1), Nigeria (1), Northern Ireland (1), the Philippines (1), etc.
Pakistan reported the mysterious death of Aziz Memon in Mehrabpur locality of Sindh province on February 16 last. Memon used to work for KTN Television and daily "Kawish" and his body found near his residence. The country lost four scribes (Aman Ullah Gharro, Ali Sher Rajper, Mirza Waseem Baig and Zafar Abbas) to assailants last year.
Afghanistan witnessed the murder of Javid Noori, Shafiq Arya, Rahimullah Rahmani, Sultan Mohammad Kairkhah and Nader Shah Shebzadeh, whereas Bangladesh reported the suspected murder of online journalist Ihsan Ibn Reza Fagun in 2019. India witnessed the incidents of nine journo-killings in 2019; of these one incident emerged as a case of targeted murder.
Andhra Pradesh-based journalist K Satyanarayana (45) faced the fate because of his performances as a working journalist. The committed reporter of Telugu newspaper "Andhra Jyothy" was hacked to death by miscreants at Annavaram village of East Godavari district on the night of October 15. Local scribes informed that Satyanarayana was targeted in an earlier occasion too.
Others who were killed this year include:
  • Jobanpreet Singh (Punjab’s online journalist was killed in police firing on December 19), 
  • Vijay Gupta (Kanpur-based scribe shot dead by close relatives on October 29), 
  • Radheyshyam Sharma (Kushinagar-based journalist murdered by his neighbours on October 10), 
  • Ashish Dhiman (Saharanpur-based photojournalist shot dead along with his brother by neighbours on August 18), 
  • Chakresh Jain (Shahgarh-based freelance journalist died of serious burn injuries on June 19), 
  • Anand Narayan (news channel contributor of Mumbai murdered by miscreants on June 4),
  • Nityanand Pandey (magazine editor in Thane killed by an employee on March 17), and
  • Kerala-based journalist K Muhammed Basheer lost his life on August 3 as a government officer driven vehicle mowed down him.
Bihar’s scribe Pradeep Mandal was targeted by miscreants on July 28, but he survived luckily. He contributed a number of news items against the local liquor mafia for Dainik Jagaran and invited enmities from the goons.
Pak journalists protest against attack on press freedom
Guwahati-based scribe named Naresh Mitra died on December 9 after sustaining head injuries in a mysterious accident inside the city. Otherwise, the trouble-torn northeastern region has once again evaded murder of any journalist in two consecutive years. Tripura reported the murder of five media persons between 2013 and 2017, whereas Assam and Manipur witnessed the last killing of media persons (Dwijamani Nanao Singh from Imphal and Raihanul Nayum from Dhubri) in 2012.
Till the recent time, the region was a breeding ground for insurgents fighting against New Delhi with demands for self-rule to sovereignty. Both the states were once severely affected by militancy, where over 30 separatist armed outfits went on with disruptive activities including extortion, kidnapping, and killings.
The year 2017 was recognized as a deadliest year for working journalists for India, as 12 scribes (Hari Prakash, Brajesh Kumar Singh, Shyam Sharma, Kamlesh Jain, Surender Singh Rana, Gauri Lankesh, Shantanu Bhowmik, KJ Singh, Rajesh Mishra, Sudip Datta Bhaumik, Naveen Gupta and Rajesh Sheoran) were either murdered or killed in suspicious situations.
Among the casualties, Tripura reported two incidents of journo-murder (Shantanu and Sudip Datta) that year. Earlier 2013 emerged a dangerous year for scribes with 11 casualties including three media employees (Sujit Bhattacharya, Ranjit Chowdhury and Balaram Ghosh) from Tripura.
Various national and international media rights bodies like RSF, IFJ, New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), etc. came out with separate reports on journo-murders in 2019 and rightly continue raising voices for due probes and punishments to the culprits.
---
*Guwahati-based scribe-activist

Comments

TRENDING

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

US publication blames Gates Foundation for 'accelerating' India's healthcare crisis

By Rajiv Shah A new book, published by the New York-based Monthly Press Review (MPR), has blamed Microsoft founder Bill Gates for “crowning” the crisis allegedly engulfing India’s health sector, stating, the top American billionaire’s foundation of late has acquired “extraordinary influence" over India’s public health governance,  giving a fillip to a policy that deprives access of public healthcare facilities for majority of the country’s population.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.