Press Statement

India: Bihar journalist killed in stabbing

02 Jul, 2024

Journalist Shivshankar Jha was fatally stabbed on June 25 in Bihar’s northwest, with Jha’s family claiming the killing was coordinated by an organised crime outfit. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate, the Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU) in strongly condemning the killing and urging Bihari authorities to ensure that those responsible do not escape with impunity.

On June 25, journalist Shivshankar Jha, 48, sustained multiple wounds to his throat after being stabbed by unidentified persons, allegedly organised by illicit alcohol suppliers in the north-eastern state of Bihar. Jha was attacked while returning to his residence in Maripur village, situated near Muzaffarpur in Bihar. Reportedly, he was rushed by local residents to the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital, where he died as a result of his injuries on June 26.

Jha, who worked for several Hindi media outlets, had complained to the police about severe threats to his life prior to the attack. According to local media reports, the family claimed that the local ‘liqour mafia’ an organised crime outfit distributing illicit alcohol, was responsible for Jha’s murder. Two people have reportedly been arrested in connection to the killing.

In a statement, the Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU) strongly condemned the journalist’s killing, with local politicians expressing condolences and committing to holding those responsible to account. Since prohibiting the sale of alcohol, in 2016 Bihar has seen the rise of illicit alcohol production and distribution.

On May 13, Sudarshan News journalist Ashutosh Srivastava was fatally shot in Uttar Pradesh while travelling home from a market. Like Shivshankar, he had received threats prior to his killing, and had written to police requesting protection.

The IJU said: “Jha was targeted by the liquor mafia and had even complained to the police a couple of days ago. The police should have promptly acted on his complaint. Worse, the killing is yet another incident of silencing independent media. IJU demands that the Bihar government catch the culprits and bring them to book. At the same time, the IJU urges the government to enact a safety law for journalists, which should act as a deterrent for both state and non-state actors from targeting journalists and safeguarding press freedom.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “While journalists and media workers in India face killings, assaults, and harassment, press freedom will remain under attack. The failure of police to provide protection for both Shivshankar Jha and Ashutosh Srivastava must be investigated, and authorities must ensure that those responsible are not allowed to escape with impunity.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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