The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliates the National Union of Journalists - India (NUJI) and the Indian Union of Journalists (IJU) in deploring the brutal murder of a journalist in Uttar Pradesh in northern India on Saturday, February 13. The IFJ joins the NUJ(I) and IJU in demanding urgent action from state and national governments to end a culture of violence against the media in the country. Last year six journalists were killed in the country, three of them in Uttar Pradesh state.
On Sunday, journalist Tarun Mishra, bureau chief of the Jan Sandesh Times, a Hindi newspaper in Sultanpur, in eastern Uttar Pradesh, was driving to Sultanpur with his uncle when two unidentified people on a motorcycle stopped the car and opened fire. Mishra was rushed to hospital but died on route. According to the Uttar Pradesh journalist union, Mishra was potentially targeted for his writings about illegal black market activities in Uttar Pradesh, sometimes referred to as the ‘mud mafia’.
The chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, has ordered the director general of police in Uttar Pradesh to form a specialist team to locate and arrest the culprits. He also announced 1 million Indian rupees (USD 14,700) compensation for Mishra’s family.
IJU president, SN Sinha, and secretary general, Amar Devulapalli, demanded an immediate inquiry be constituted and the perpetrators be brought to book as well as compensation.
The IJU further added: “The IJU express grave concern over the rise in crime against journalists and the unsafe environment that journalists in the State are working under. Mishra’s murder gives credence to the State earning the notorious reputation of stifling freedom of expression and silencing dissent.”
NUJI President Ras Bihari said: “The NUJI condemn this heinous act and demand from Uttar Pradesh Government to come forward to nab the culprits and make sure that the state should not become a killing field of journalists.
The IFJ general secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “The state of the India’s media environment is becoming increasingly concerning when it comes to journalist safety. Immediate action is needed to stem the tide of violence particularly in Uttar Pradesh and Chattisgharh. We stand with our affiliates, NUJ(I) and IJU as they push for justice with state and national governments to ensure proper investigation into this latest attack and arrest Tarun Mishra’s killers.”
The IFJ welcomes the compensation offered by the Uttar Pradesh government and has also called on Mishra’s employer to give necessary support to his family.”
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific
Find the IFJ on Facebook: www.facebook.com/IFJAsiaPacific