40 Journalists Killed, 198 Attacked In India Between 2014-2019: Report
A study on the number of attacks against the journalist in India has found that 40 journalists were killed during the stipulated time period between 2014 – 2019, and around 200 instances of serious attacks on journalists were recorded.
The report called “Getting Away With Murder” by journalists Geeta Seshu and Urvashi Sarkar illustrates a worrying picture on the condition of the fourth pillar of the democracy. The report was funded by Thakur Foundation.
The report claims of the 40 deaths, 21 were linked to their professional work. The report blamed the government agencies, security forces, member of political parties, religious sects, students groups, criminal gangs and local mafias for attacks on the journalists.
It underlined, that only three convictions have taken place in murder cases of journalists since 2010. The convictions took place in the cases of journalist Jyotirmoy Dey, Tarun Acharya, and Rajesh Mishra. In other cases, FIRs were filed or trials have begun, but justice has not been delivered, the study pointed.
The study published at a time when there is nationwide protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC). During these protests, reports of journalists been attacked by the police have surfaced from different corners of the country. The study also said that during these protests, journalists in at least four states were reported as “detained, assaulted, their camera equipment snatched and even banished into a neighbouring state.
In 2019, 36 “serious” attacks on journalist since 2014 came forward. The report also highlighted that at several instances journalists were even shot at, blinded by pellet guns, forced to drink liquor mixed with urine, urinated upon, chased, and kicked. In some cases, petrol bombs were also hurled at their homes.
The report said that the journalists who were covering conflict or news events were targeted the most by supporters of religious sects, angry mobs, student groups, police, lawyers, security forces, and political parties.
Attacks on women journalist have also shown a gradual rise, the report noted. It said that women journalists who were covering the Sabarimala conflict were targeted. At least 19 women were subjected to attacks, the reported mentioned.
On inquiries into the attacks, the study said: “Thorough investigation, a speedy trial and conviction should be the norm, not the exception. But, in several cases, the investigation is slow, uneven and inconsistent.”