5 Journalists Killed, 226 Targeted During 2023, Says India Press Freedom Report

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Journalism is no longer the fourth pillar of democracy but the first pillar of the target to establish a controlled democracy, said Suhas Chakma, author of the report.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — Five journalists were killed and 226 others were targeted by state agencies, non-state political actors, anti-social elements, and criminals across the country last year, the ‘India Press Freedom Annual Report 2023’ has said.

The report released here on Friday by India Freedom of Expression Initiative (IFEI) stated that among the states/union territories (UTs), journalists targeted from Delhi were 54, followed by West Bengal (25), Manipur (22), Uttar Pradesh (20), Kerala (16), Jharkhand (11), Maharashtra and Telangana (8 each), Assam, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh (7 each), Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Odisha (5 each), Andhra Pradesh and Haryana (4 each), Punjab (3), Tripura (2), and Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand (1 each).

“Real journalism has become the most dangerous profession in India. It is no longer the fourth pillar of democracy but the first pillar of the target to establish a controlled democracy,” stated Suhas Chakma, IFEI coordinator and author of the report.

In 2023, five journalists were killed by non-state actors and criminals. Of this two were killed in Uttar Pradesh, and one each in Maharashtra, Assam, and Bihar. Of the 226 journalists, 30 were females with Delhi again topping the list with12. It was followed by Kerala and Manipur (5 each), West Bengal (3), Punjab (2), and Odisha, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh (1 each). The majority of these female journalists were targeted by the police, which included arrest/detention (3), registration of FIRs (9), questioning, assault, and raid on houses, the report said.

While 148 journalists were targeted by the state actors, 78 were targeted by the non-state actors including political leaders/activists/criminals. Out of the 148 journalists targeted by state actors, Delhi reported the highest with 51, followed by Manipur and West Bengal (19 each), Kerala (11), Uttar Pradesh (9), Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka (4 each), Haryana, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Punjab (3 each), Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana (2 each), and Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttarakhand (1 each). Out of these 148, 21 journalists were arrested/detained; First Information Reports (FIRs) were registered against 47 journalists, 54 journalists were summoned for questioning, or notices were issued to reveal sources or passports impounded or their houses raided, and 26 journalists were physically attacked, threatened or harassed by police/public officials.

Delhi reported the highest number of arrests/detentions of four journalists, followed by Haryana (3), Jammu and Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Punjab and Chhattisgarh (2 each), and Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal (1 each). Two of the arrested/detained journalists were females. West Bengal reported the highest number of registration of FIRs against journalists with 18, followed by Kerala (9), Manipur (5), Andhra Pradesh (4), Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh (3 each), Jharkhand (2), Assam, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu (1 each).

During 2023, out of the 78 journalists attacked by non-state actors including political leaders/activists, criminals, etc across the country, the maximum attacks on journalists were reported from Uttar Pradesh (11), followed by Jharkhand (8), West Bengal, Assam, Telangana and Bihar (6 each), Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala and Himachal Pradesh (5 each); Delhi, Manipur and Odisha (3 each); and Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Tripura (1 each). Out of these 78 journalists attacked by non-state actors, 56 were attacked by criminals, anti-social elements, etc, and 22 by political leaders or their supporters, the report said.

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