On its website today, Reporters Without Borders has warned India in its Incident Report, on freedom of the press in India. This comes on the basis of increased attacks and murders of journalists in the country. The report says India had seen a fourth journalist killed in less than six months and “a sharp rise in hate speech.” RSF called on the representatives of the government and the ruling party to “condemn in the strongest terms online campaigns of hate and harassment aimed at journalists.”
It talks of surge in threats, abuses, killing of media personalities across India across different regions. Most prominently, it raises the murder of Shujaat Bhukhari outside his office in Srinagar.
The website says, on July 3, RSF secretary-general, Christophe Deloire, wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi telling him that the Incident Report had been issued in relation to press freedom in the country, and asking him to take urgent action. An Incident Report is issued when events are observed that could affect a country’s ranking based on one or more of the indicators that are used in the evaluation for the World Press Freedom Index. The Incident Report examines the country’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index, the global benchmark for media freedom.
It talks of surge in threats, abuses, killing of media personalities across India across different regions. Most prominently, it raises the murder of Shujaat Bhukhari outside his office in Srinagar. The report mentions cases of journalist Sandeep Sharma, a reporter investigating illegal sand mining who was killed by a garbage truck in Madhya Pradesh. It also mentions Navin Nischal and Vijay Singh, subeditors with Dainik Bhaskar who according to reports were killed by an SUV in Bihar. It also mentions other journalists killed on the job. However it doesn’t talk about Gauri Lankesh in specific article.
RSF warning to India in first World Press Freedom Index Incident Report
While mentioning that abuses against media are on the rise, the report talks of threats to Rana Ayyub and Ravish Kumar. In the 2018 Index, published in April this year, India occupied the 138th position out of 180 countries, two places lower than in 2017, and the situation has continued to deteriorate.