Press Statement

India: Journalists attacked, threatened

11 Jun, 2024

India’s journalists have faced assaults, attacks, and threats over the past few weeks, with India’s recent elections and Israel’s war on Gaza threatening journalist safety. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Indian Journalists Union (IJU), in condemning the attacks, and calling on state and national authorities to take action to guarantee the safety of journalists and uphold press freedom.

On May 31, Vinay Pande, an independent journalist, registered a police complaint after receiving death threats, including one message threatening to behead him, on Instagram. Pande registered a police complaint with the Nagpur police, with Police Commissioner Ravinder Singal promising ‘appropriate legal action. The Times of India reported that the threats were made from an Instagram account that has 10 thousand followers, which posted pictures of Pande and a teenage female influencer online threatening to behead them. Reportedly, Pande was threatened for his reporting on the Gaza Conflict.

Likewise, on June 1, freelance journalist Bunty Mukherjee was severely injured during violent clashes, reportedly between activists with the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) on the last day of voting in recent Lok Sabha elections in Canning, a town east of Kolkata. During one confrontation between the groups, Mukherjee was struck by a stone in his head and transferred to the Medica Super Specialty Hospital in Kolkata to receive treatment.

In a separate incident on May 23, journalist Ankur Jaiswal was allegedly assaulted by BJP leader Satish Bhau and others at a private event in the Banganga area of Indore, in the West of the central Madhya Pradesh state.  The Times of India reported that Jaiswal has lodged a police complaint that he was attacked by Satish Bhau and his accomplices at a private event. According to media reports, Jaiswal said he had a spat with them and then attacked. Police sources said Jaiswal was attacked “for publishing material that exposed their activities”.

The IJU said: “Geetartha Pathak, President of IJU and former member of Press Council of India, and Sabina Inderjit, Secretary General of IJU and Vice President of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demand action against the persons who gave death threat to the Nagpur journalist and media influencer. IJU also demands an inquiry into the incident where the ANI Journalist was injured as a result of clashes between two groups of rival political parties and book the culprits. IJU asks the respective State government to ensure the safety and security of journalists in their states, reminding them that India is slipping down on the global press freedom index.”

The IFJ said: “Journalists and media workers deserve to work without fear of attacks or other retribution. Authorities on a state and national level must ensure the press freedom is upheld, that the safety of the media is guaranteed, and that any incidents are investigated immediately, thoroughly, and transparently.”

Written By

IFJ Asia-Pacific IFJ Asia-Pacific

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