IFJ Condemns Attack on a Freelance Journalist in India

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the global organisation representing over 500,000 journalists worldwide, today condemned the attack on a freelance journalist in India.

According information received by the IFJ, Shubhranshu Choudhary based in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, traveled to Lakheempur on 8 November to cover a story for BBC Radio about the Lakheempur District Administration’s decision to give priority for arms licenses to motivators of sterilization for family planning.

"Attacks on journalists for their truth-telling represents a curtailment of press freedom that must be resisted," said IFJ President Christopher Warren.

While working on the story, Choudhary says that a few members of the gun selling community started beating him in front of their shop. They snatched his camera, phone and wallet and tore his clothes. His other equipment was however saved by the prompt action of his driver.

Choudhary was taken to the nearest police station (Sadar police station) in a humiliating manner, with two people holding his hands, abusing him and a few others pushing and dragging him.

“Such treatment meted out to a journalist is outrageous, and more shameful is the lack of intervention on the part of the police, the law keepers,” said Warren.

According to our information, Mr Yadav, in-charge of the police station did not lodge Choudhary’s First Information Report or help Choudhary to retrieve his photographs. Further, armed weapon- sellers threatened him in front of the police officers, declaring “we will stage an ‘encounter’”. None of the police officers intervened to stop such threats.

Choudhary was released only after the intervention of Mr Harish Varma, District Magistrate in-charge, Lakheempur.

"We urge the Uttar Pradesh Government to look into the matter, punish those responsible for the attack on Shubranshu Choudhary and robbery of his press photographs, and also take action against errant police officers for dereliction of duty. The authorities must work towards greater transparency in governance and promote press freedom," said Warren.

For further information, contact Christopher Warren on +61 411 757 668
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries