Protect journalists, end impunity for their killings

Press release

(New Delhi, Paris) The Indian government must take urgent measures to protect journalists, FIDH and its member organization People’s Watch said today following the latest murder of a reporter in India.

On 20 September 2017, Santanu Bhowmick, a 28-year-old journalist with Dinrat news channel, was beaten to death while reporting on clashes in Mandai, West Tripura District, Tripura State. The clashes were a result of a longstanding political rivalry between the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal political party, and the Tripura Rajaer Ganamukti Parishad (TRUGP), the tribal wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPM). At least two members of the IPFT have been arrested by the Tripura Police in connection with the murder.

“The recent killings of journalists confirm that India remains a very dangerous place for reporters. The government must do more to create a safe environment for journalists and ensure they can exercise their vital role without fearing for their lives.”

Dimitris Christopoulos, FIDH President

Bhowmick’s murder is the second killing of a journalist in India in just over two weeks. On 5 September 2017, editor and journalist Gauri Lankesh was fatally shot at her home by unknown gunmen. No arrests have been made in connection with her murder.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 71 journalists and media workers have been killed in India since 1992 - excluding Bhowmick’s recent murder. Of these, 28 have been killed “with complete impunity,” placing India among the world’s top 10 countries failing to obtain convictions for the murder of journalists.

In September 2017, during India’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR), the Indian government refused to accept a key recommendation that specifically requested the authorities to “carry out independent investigations in all cases of attacks against journalists.”

“The entrenched impunity for the killings of journalists in India is alarming. The Indian government must put an end to this impunity by conducting effective and impartial investigations and bringing those responsible to justice.”

Henri Tiphagne, People’s Watch Executive Director and National Working Secretary of Human Rights Defenders’ Alert - India (HRDA)

FIDH and People’s Watch call upon India to urgently investigate all cases of killings of journalists and to bring those responsible to justice in accordance with its legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which India is a state party.

Press contacts
Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) - Tel: +66 886117722 (Bangkok)
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