The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is angered by the failure of Indian police to ensure journalists’ safety, after three journalists were injured in West Bengal on December 8 when police resorted to a lathi (baton) charge during a protest.
The Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU), an IFJ affiliate, reported that the journalists, who were reporting on the protest, were hurt when police charged a group of Naxalite protesters in Seoraphuli, in West Bengal’s Hooghly district.
“Journalists have a right, and indeed a duty, to report on events such as this protest with the knowledge they will not be attacked or injured while doing so,” said IFJ President Christopher Warren.
“Police have a responsibility to ensure that journalists are not unwitting casualties of police brutality,” the IFJ president said.
The group of activists was reportedly protesting the forcible acquisition of farmland for the setting up of a car-manufacturing plant in the Singur area.
According to the IJU, Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said he had directed authorities to inquire into the “unfortunate” incident.
“The IFJ calls not only for disciplinary action against the police involved in the harming of these journalists, but for both the government and police to take steps to ensure a safe environment in which reporters can carry out their work,” Warren said.
For more information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0919
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in 115 countries worldwide