The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the attack on staff of private television channel CNN-IBN on March 7 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.
“This deplorable assault on media persons is an unacceptable violation of press freedom, and must be condemned in the most severe terms,” said IFJ president Christopher Warren.
In the latest incident of violent attacks on the press in India, four unidentified attackers surrounded a CNN-IBN vehicle, dragged out the driver and camera assistant and beat them followed by setting their vehicle on fire.
The incident occurred two days after the television channel aired an expose about the unaccounted wealth of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati. Mayawati’s assets are currently under a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.
The attack follows closely a legal notice served by Mayawati to CNN-IBN claiming that a story about her disproportionate assets broadcast by the channel and put up on its website was “distorted and fabricated”. The notice calls upon the CNN-IBN to pay 100 million Indian rupees (approximately 2 million USD) in damages.
In a spontaneous upsurge against the attack, journalists in the city started a procession to protest the incident and demanded immediate action against the culprits.
The Editors Guilds of India condemned the attack on CNN-IBN staffers. In a statement, the Guild said, “The violent attack on the staff of CNN-IBN in Lucknow on Tuesday afternoon is yet another instance of wanton assault on the media and a brutal attempt to subjugate freedom by fear. The Editors Guilds of India strongly condemns such cowardly attacks and demands that state government finds the guilty so that they can face exemplary justice and ensure that the free voice of media is never shackled."
The Principal Secretary (Home) of Uttar Pradesh, Alok Sinha, condemned the assault, while the Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav declared that the culprits would not be spared
“Violence and coercion cannot be used to silence the media. Media persons must be allowed to perform their professional duties in an atmosphere free from intimidation, “ said Warren, calling for immediate action against the culprits.
For more information please contact IFJ Asia Pacific +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 500,000 journalists in over 100 countries