Are Journalists Soft Targets?
The death of Doordarshan cameraman Achyutananda Sahu in a reported Naxal ambush in Chhattisgarh was a stark reminder of the perils some reporters face on the job. Sahu’s name is part of a long global list of journalists killed so far this year, including the grisly murder of Saudi Arabian columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. Five years ago, the United Nations declared November 2 as ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists’, but journalists remain a soft target. A recent UNESCO report says a journalist dies every four days somewhere in the world but the vast majority of the murders go unpunished. In India, arrests, such as those of the alleged killers of editor Gauri Lankesh, are sometimes made but are often controversial. The Viennabased International Press Institute has described India, alongside Mexico, as a country in which “investigations into journalist killings have been particularly tardy”. India also consistently features in the annual list deemed by the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) to have the worst records in prosecuting the killers of journalists. The list doesn’t include those who die covering combat.
Indian journalists killed since September 2017. In 6 cases, arrests have been made, albeit controversially. In 2018 alone, Indian journalists have been killed; 73 worldwide
Journalists killed in India since 1992, says CPJ, with clear motive identified in
of these murders
Attacks on journalists in India between 2015-17, says the National Crime Records Bureau
India’s rank among the 14 countries listed in the CPJ’s global impunity index 2018, which lists the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of the population of each country on the list
India’s ranking out of 180 countries in the ‘World Press Freedom Index 2018’, an annual list produced by Reporters Without Borders
Of journalist killings recorded by UNESCO worldwide between 2006 and 2017 “remain unresolved”
Countries, including India, that have made the global impunity index every year since it began in 2008. Others: Somalia, Iraq, Philippines, Mexico, Pakistan and Russia