The International Federation of Journalists has sent a letter of protest to the Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, voicing its concern over the murder of Mr Parmanand Goyal, a journalist and Kaithal Unit President of Haryana Union of Journalists.
The IFJ have protested to the Prime Minister of India in the following letter:
22 September 2003
Prime Minister of India
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Address: 3, Race Course Road,
CC. L K Advani
Deputy Prime Minister
VIA FACSIMILE: +91 11 301 9817
Via email: email@example.com
Dear Mr Vajpayee,
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the world’s largest journalists’ organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, is deeply concerned over the murder of Mr Parmanand Goyal, a journalist and Kaithal Unit President of Haryana Union of Journalists.
It is our understanding that at 7am local time on 18 September 2003 Mr Goyal, a reporter for Punjab Kesari, was called outside his home by three unidentified persons, and shot dead in front of his family.
Mr Goyal was arrested in two corruption cases earlier this year and recently released on bail, although his family has maintained that the cases against him were fabricated. According to information obtained by the IFJ, Mr Goyal’s son has claimed that Mr Goyal’s violent murder was preceded by the unknown visitors telling the reporter to cease publishing articles criticising the police and Haryana Chief minister Shri Om Parkash Chautala. Mr Goyal’s son has also asserted that police refused to register the First Information Report according to the family’s request.
In light of the very clear public doubts surrounding the circumstances of this event, the IFJ calls on the Indian government to launch a Central Bureau of Investigations inquiry into Mr Goyal’s murder.
Such an inquiry would not only help to clear public uncertainty as to the possible political motivation for the murder, but would also constitute a commitment to the preserve of the principles of press freedom and the safety of journalists in India
The IFJ strongly condemns any attack on journalists and press freedom as an attack on democracy itself, and challenges the Indian government to reaffirm its constitutional responsibility to protect a free and independent press.
Mr Goyal is the second journalist murdered in the state of Haryana in the last two years. Earlier, Sirsa journalist Ramchander Chhattarpati was killed.
The IFJ is deeply concerned about the increasing violence faced by journalists and the implications for press freedom posed by this, and calls on the Indian government to act immediately to restore the right of journalists to report on matters political without fear of retributions.
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
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