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Highlighting The Dangers To Journalism In India On International Day To End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists

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Highlighting The Dangers To Journalism In India On International Day To End Impunity For Crimes Against Journalists

November 2nd has been declared as international journalism day by the UNGA. On this day the efforts of journalists around the world are lauded who are fighting the war of truth and justice. On the other hand, there are countries that discourage this fight for truth and try to brutalize the journalists working to expose the illegal acts of government. India is among those countries that assault journalists trying to expose the flaws in governance. India is a dangerous country not only for minorities but also for journalists as it ranks low in ‘Press Freedom Index’ while high in impunity in reports published by different press freedom watch groups.

In 2022, India was ranked 150th among 180 countries in the Press Freedom Index published by Reporters Without Borders. Violence against journalists was one of the reasons cited by RSF for declining press freedom in India. India has been listed under countries considered “bad” for journalism and is among the most dangerous places in the world for journalists.

The Reporters Without Borders report published in 2022 on India’s Press Freedom highlights that, “Indians who espouse Hindutva, the ideology that gave rise to radical right-wing Hindu nationalism, are trying to purge all manifestations of ‘anti-national’ thought from the public debate. The coordinated hate campaigns waged on social networks against journalists who dare to speak or write about subjects that annoy Hindutva followers are terrifying and indicate calls for journalists concerned to be murdered.”

“With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of anti-national thought from national debate, self-censorship is growing in mainstream media. Journalists are increasingly targets of online smear campaigns by most radical nationalists, who vilify them / even threaten physical reprisals,” warned ‘Reporters Without Borders.’

Human Rights Watch in its latest report published in May 2022, titled “India: Media Under Threat”, highlighted that Indian authorities are increasingly targeting journalists and online critics for their criticism of government policies and practices, including by “prosecuting them under counterterrorism and sedition laws, ten human rights organizations said, The authorities targeting of journalists, coupled with a broader crackdown on dissent, has emboldened Hindu nationalists to threaten, harass, and abuse journalists critical of the Indian government, both online and offline, with impunity, the group said. The organizations are Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, PEN America, Reporters Without Borders, International Federation of Journalists, CIVICUS, Access Now, International Commission of Jurists, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch.

According to a February 2022 report by the Committee Against Assault on Journalists, “Authorities in BJP-led Uttar Pradesh state have repeatedly filed false charges against journalists for publishing content and social media posts critical of the government. Since 2017, after BJP leader Yogi Adityanath became the state’s chief minister, the authorities have filed criminal cases against 66 journalists. Another 48 journalists have been physically attacked.” Indian authorities have been implicated in using the Israeli-produced spyware Pegasus to target journalists. In addition, the authorities’ frequent internet shutdowns hamper the ability of journalists to do their work, including accessing and disseminating information online.

Humais Sheikh .
Humais Sheikh .https://www.globalcourant.com/
Humais Sheikh is an independent Defence Analyst based in Islamabad. He has completed his Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad

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