Journalists across India are increasingly faced by threats and intimidation, according to data shared in the Lok Sabha by the Minister of State. In 2014, 114 cases were registered and some 32 people were arrested. But a logical conclusion remains out of reach.
The attacks range from intimidation by state or mafia, and in some cases are at the behest of powerful politicians or businessmen.
Some noted journalists that suffered violence include Rajdeo Ranjan, 42, a journalist with the Hindustan who was shot dead because he wrote on the Shrikant Bharti case.
Journalists took to the streets in protest, but soon after Rajdeo was murdered, 3 more journalists and others associated with different media houses received hostile treatment by anti-social elements and politicians.
Like other parts of India, attacks on journalists are not new in Bihar where the editor of an English daily was attacked while another was manhandled by the then ruling party MLA in a Patna market place.
Lok Sabha statistics reveal that Uttar Pradesh and Bihar recorded the highest number of assaults on journalists in 2014, i.e. 63 and 22 respectively.
Last year a dozen fatal attacks on journalists took place in UP.
The litany of attacks is astounding particularly as in the majority of the cases, no action is taken against the attackers who remain unidentified, or are just too powerful to be prosecuted. UP accredited Journalist Association head, Siddharth Kalhans says a Journalist Protection Act is the need of the hour, on par with the Whistle Blower Act.
The number of cases of violence is very long list and sadly India’s belief in freedom of the press is now almost a mockery. Brave are the journalists who carry on regardless, doing the work they are assigned to do with diligence and daring.