New Delhi, 2 November 2020: On International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, the Indian Journalists Union along with its affiliates denounces crimes targeting journalists that remain unpunished while the masterminds walk free and demands that both the Central and State governments put an end to the culture of impunity.
Dealing with India, in its campaign highlighting impunity in 5 countries including Russia, Mexico, Somalia and Yemen, the International Federation of Journalists said, “India, the world’s largest democracy, has a grim record of 55 journalists killed between 2010 and 2020. Of the long list of murders and targeted killings, just one and only one case has been resolved. The remainder lie largely cold, waiting for authorities either unwilling or incapable (or both) to deliver adequate investigations at the outset, let alone bring perpetrators to justice.”
The end result of this inaction, it notes, is that India’s media remains under grave threat through intensifying harassment and intimidation both online and offline – with perpetrators brazen in the knowledge that they can elude punishment. They know this because the record tells them so. Despite the IFJ recording 68 media rights violations including arrests, killings, attacks, censorship, harassment, misuse of law, particularly the sedition law, and economic pressure in India from January to October, 2020, too few cases are prosecuted due to poor police investigation or the indifference of authorities.
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: “A big question mark hangs on India, the world’s largest democracy, boasting of press freedom. The rising attacks, harassment, intimidation of journalists and unprecedented attempts to suppress truth, by the powers-that-be are stifling the fourth estate like never before. Journalists have lost their lives, are being imprisoned, forced to fight long legal battles among other forms of persecution while carrying out their duties.”
Worse, “Justice eludes and a nagging fear of reprisal lurks in the media today. In effect, the citizen’s right to information and to form an informed opinion, critical to any democratic society, is being violated. The IJU has been vociferous in its criticism of the gagging of the media, has been demanding a safe environment for the journalists and demands from the Modi government that it must respect the freedom of the press and allow the fourth estate to function independently. Remember, action speaks louder than words!”