The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the National Union of Journalists (India) condemn the police detention of a photojournalist in Bhubaneswar in Odisha, on March 6. The IFJ demands an inquiry into the detention and urges the Indian government to ensure that journalists are not harassed.
Subhendu Kanungo, a photojournalist with leading Odia-language daily Prayabekhyak, was arrested from the Sailashree Vihar area on the charge of ‘misbehavior’ with Ayub Khan, a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from the ruling party, during a telephone call on February 14. The police didn’t inform his family or his employer about his detention.
The Odisha Union of Journalists, an NUJI affiliate, termed the arrest a ‘deep-rooted conspiracy’ to suppress journalists. OUJ president and former general secretary of NUJI Prasanna Mohanty demanded a high-level probe into the incident.
In a statement, the OUJ said: “As per Supreme Court ruling, parents and relatives of the person arrested must be informed by the police immediately. However, the procedure was not followed. Furthermore, a private vehicle was used to take journalist Kanungo, who is suffering from multiple ailments, to the police station, and he was not informed about the reason of his arrest. This is a violation of an individual’s fundamental rights.”
The IFJ said: “The detention of photojournalist Subhendu Kanungo in Odisha, India seemingly on the direction of a politician is harassment of the journalist. Such incidents weaken independent journalism and democracy. The IFJ condemns the detention and demands that such incidents are not repeated in future.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific