Demanding uncensored right to freedom of expression and protection for the journalists who criticise Modi government, scores of journalists, media persons and social activists gathered at a demonstration held at the Press Club of India, Delhi on Friday.
The demonstration was organised by Janhastakshep.
Speaking on the occasion, Ish Mishra, convenor of Janhastakshep said that assault cases against journalists are increasing at an alarming rate and the government’s apathy towards safety of journalists is deplorable.
Asserting that the Modi government should stop gagging media, journalists demanded that the “right to freedom of expression” must be protected at any cost.
“For a vibrant democracy, it is necessary that the media should speak the truth and not the government’s version. And the government should also ensure safety and protection of the journalists who are critical to it. Without free press, democracy cannot survive,” said a senior journalist.
The journalists who gathered at the demonstration took swipe at ‘Godi’ media (pliable media) and said, “remove Godi media, save democracy”
“Stop fascist attacks on journalists and protect freedom of expression,” read a poster that was hanging against the wall of the PCI.
According to World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RWB) in 2018, India was ranked 138 of 180 countries, just one rank above Pakistan.
According to the latest available National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, 142 attacks against journalists were registered nationwide over the past two years. As many 70 journalists were killed in India till 2016, claimed the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Under the BJP rule, Uttar Pradesh (UP) has registered the most number of cases – 64 against the journalists over the past two years but only four persons have been arrested, followed by Madhya Pradesh which registered 26 cases against journalists. Bihar registered 22 cases against journalists in the last two years.
As per a media report, violence against journalists includes police violence, attacks by Maoists and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians.
Surprisingly, since 1992, 55% journalists who were murdered in India covered politics.