India: IJU Urges Modi Govt to Support IFJ Convention On Journalists Safety02 Nov, 2022
On International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Indian Journalists Union has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure his government adopt the International Federation of Journalists Federation sponsored UN Convention on the safety and independence of journalists and other media professionals. This, said the IJU was important as to date there are no international binding instruments that compel UN member states to ensure security of journalists and to investigate crimes against them.
In a letter to Prime Minister Modi, the IJU pointed out that the levels of intimidation, attacks and crimes against journalists are menacingly rising in the country, which have devastating consequences on the freedom of the press. The IJU along with its affiliates has repeatedly denounced such crimes targeting journalists that remain unpunished while the culprits walk free and has been demanding that both the Central and State governments put an end to this culture of impunity. The government must also enact a safety law to protect journalists.
Globally too, according to the IFJ, there is failure of governments to investigate crimes against journalists and only one killing of a journalist in every 10 is investigated. While a number of governments have extended support to the IFJ Convention, the Indian government has yet to do so and it’s vital the world’s largest democracy shows its commitment to protect press freedom.
In a statement, IJU President and former member of Press Council of India Geetartha Pathak and Secretary General and IFJ Vice President Sabina Inderjit said the rising attacks on journalists are unprecedented and are stifling India’s fourth estate. In fact, the citizen’s right to information and to form an informed opinion, which is critical to any democratic society, is getting severely impacted. This in turn puts a question mark on India boasting of press freedom.
Therefore, the IJU demands a safe environment for journalists. India would do well globally if it joins other nations in adopting the international convention, which in turn would oblige UN to establish mechanisms to hold governments to account and combat impunity.