International media watchdog Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday said India was failing to keep its reporters safe from threats or being attacked for their work. A member of the group, Sujata Madhok, said suspects in such cases are rarely arrested. "The torturously slow Indian judicial system, together with corruption in the police force and the criminalisation of politics, makes it possible to literally get away with murder," she said.
The watchdog noted that since 1992, there were 27 cases of journalists being murdered for their work, AP reported. In a report released on Monday, CPJ said it found only one case in a decade in India in which a perpetrator was was convicted for killing a journalist, but the suspect was later released on bail. "No government in India has been an ardent champion of press freedom...Small-town journalists...will often find themselves alone and abandoned when trouble strikes," the report said, accusing local authorities too of apathy in these matters.
The CPJ report is supported by a study published by the Press Council of India in 2015, which said people behind journalists' murders got away with impunity. The Indian organisation also urged Parliament to pass a law to ensure the safety of reporters in the country.
The CPJ report highlighted three cases – the death of Akshay Singh, who was investigating the Vyapam Scam in Madhya Pradesh, the immolation of Jagendra Singh, who had levelled fraud allegations against a local Uttar Pradesh minister in a report, and the shooting of Umesh Rajput in Chhattisgarh, who was looking into reports of medical negligence in the state.