India: Journalists attacked and threatened – FIP

India’s journalists have been subjected to attacks, assaults and threats in recent weeks. The recent elections in India and Israel’s war on Gaza threaten the safety of journalists. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), together with its sister organisation, the Indian Journalists’ Union (IJU), condemns the attacks and calls on state and national authorities to take measures to ensure the safety of journalists and protect press freedom.

On May 31, independent journalist Vinay Pande filed a police complaint after receiving death threats on Instagram, including a message threatening to behead him. Pande filed a complaint with Nagpur police, and police commissioner Ravinder Singal promised “appropriate legal action.” The Times of India reported that the threats came from an Instagram account with 10,000 followers that posted pictures of Pande and a teenage influencer online and threatened to behead them. Pande was reportedly threatened because of his coverage of the Gaza conflict.

Similarly, freelance journalist Bunty Mukherjee was seriously injured in violent clashes on June 1. According to reports, on the last day of polling in the recent Lok Sabha elections, activists of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) clashed in Canning, a town east of Kolkata. In an altercation between the groups, Mukherjee was hit on the head by a stone and was admitted to the Medica Super Speciality Hospital in Kolkata for treatment.

In another incident on May 23, journalist Ankur Jaiswal was allegedly attacked by BJP leader Satish Bhau and others at a private event in the Banganga area of ​​Indore in west central Madhya Pradesh state. The Times of India reported that Jaiswal had filed a police complaint about being attacked by Satish Bhau and his accomplices at a private event. According to media reports, Jaiswal said he had an argument with them and then attacked them. Police sources said Jaiswal was attacked “for publishing material exposing their activities”.

The IJU stated: “Geetartha Pathak, President of IJU and former member of Press Council of India, and Sabina Inderjit, General Secretary of IJU and Vice President of International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), demand action against those who issued death threats to the Nagpur-based journalist and media influencer. IJU also demands an investigation into the incident in which the ANI journalist was injured following clashes between two groups of rival political parties and the arrest of the perpetrators. IJU calls on the respective state governments to ensure the safety of journalists in their states and reminds them that India is slipping down the global press freedom index.”

The IFJ stated:“Journalists and media workers have the right to work without fear of attacks or other reprisals. Authorities at the state and national levels must ensure that press freedom is upheld, that media safety is guaranteed, and that all incidents are investigated promptly, thoroughly, and transparently.”