India has the highest number of journalists who were killed this year in “retaliation” for their work, according to a report by the US non-profit watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Thursday.
In its annual survey on press freedom and attacks on the media, the CPJ said, four journalists had been murdered in India for their work as of 1 December 2021, while a fifth died on a “dangerous assignment”. Seven Indian journalists were behind put bars for their reporting as of 1 December this year, it added.
As per the report, nearly 24 journalists were killed worldwide for their coverage and 19 of them “murdered”. The remaining five died in crossfires, including India’s Danish Siddiqui, who was on “dangerous assignment” in Afghanistan.
Another 18 died in suspicious circumstances although it could not be ascertained if they were specific targets, it added.
As of 1 December 2021, the total number of media persons in jail has also reportedly reached a “record high”, with 293 in prison.
“It’s been an especially bleak year for defenders of press freedom. CPJ’s 2021 prison census found that the number of reporters jailed for their work hit a new global record of 293, up from a revised total of 280 in 2020,” the CJP’s report said.
The four journalists in Indian who have been “confirmed” to have been killed for their work include, Avinash Jha of BNN News in November, Chennakesavalu of EV5 and Manish Singh of Sudarshan TV in August, and Sulabh Srivastava of ABP News in June.
In October this year, Journalist Raman Kashyap of Sadhna TV Plus, died on a “dangerous assignment” in Lakhimpur Kheri violence.
Among the seven imprisoned Indian journalists, include two from Kashmir – Aasif Sultan of Kashmir Narrator who is in jail since 2018 and photojournalist Manan Dar, since October this year.
Since April 2020, Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha have been in jail in connection with the Bhima Koregaon case. While Rajeev Sharma was arrested for alleged money laundering in July this year, but was later released from jail for suspected espionage.
Siddique Kappan, a journalist was arrested for allegedly trying to foment trouble when he was on his way to cover the Hathras gang rape case in October 2020. Tanveer Warsi was accused of allegedly running a paper illegally, including other charges.