A renowned international watchdog agency has said that India is failing to protect its journalists who are threatened or attacked for their work.
The Committee to Protect Journalists has chronicled 27 journalists who have been killed for their work since 1992, while also probing more than two dozen other cases to ascertain if those deaths also were work-related. The report has found that it’s not journalists from metros like Delhi or Mumbai that are at risk, but those from small towns reporting on corruption who are constantly under threat.
"Perpetrators are seldom arrested. The torturously slow Indian judicial system, together with corruption in the police force and the criminalization of politics, makes it possible to literally get away with murder, said Sujata Madhok, a member of the watchdog, according to an ABC News report taken from the Associated Press.
In particular, the report has cited the death of three journalists and these cases still await closure.
Freelance journalist Jagendra Singh accused a police officer of setting him on fire before dying from extensive burn injuries in June 2015. Local police disputed his account and tried to downplay his journalistic credentials. More than a year later, the case is still being investigated at state-level and no arrests have been made.
Umesh Rajput, a reporter with the Hindi-language daily Nai Dunia, was shot dead outside his home in January 2011. The investigation into his murder has been marked by delays and key evidence has gone missing, his family’s lawyer says. The case was finally handed to the Central Bureau of Investigation, but Rajput’s family is still waiting for justice.
Akshay Singh, an investigative reporter for the prominent India Today Group, was working on one of the country’s largest corruption scandals when he unexpectedly died during an interview. In part because of his high profile, Singh’s case was moved to the Central Bureau of Investigation relatively quickly, the report adds.
The Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York, is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes press freedom worldwide and consists of around 40 experts from all over the world.
You can access the report here.