India deadly for journalists

Bold and brave journalists who speak out against the majority view are being murdered. If they defy the fundamentalists and attempt to expose the corrupt, they are in danger of being killed. This is so all over the world, but India apparently is the deadliest country for journalists in Asia. More journalists killed in India than any other country in Asia!

70 journalists have been killed in India since 1992, and journalist murders are accelerating every year. 18 journalists were killed in 2017.  These are just the verified killings. Gauri Lankesh is one of them. Her murder may have been solved (at least the hitman has been nabbed) but very few of journalist murders are actually solved as many are politically motivated. In these cases, the establishment often turns a blind eye. Perhaps this is the reason why the number of journalists killed every year is increasing.

Gauri Lankesh a journalist/activist was a well-known critic of right-wing Hindu extremism. Other examples are Sudip Datta Bhowmik, shot dead on 21st November 2017, near Agartala, in Tripura. He is believed to have unearthed some financial irregularities in the paramilitary force “TSR”. And just months earlier, a young television journalist Santanu Bhowmik was kidnapped and knifed to death in Tripura. He was covering a road blockade agitation of the IPFT, which is demanding a separate tribal State called Tipraland.

And let us not forget the murder of the honest and fearless journalist and editor of Rising Kashmir, Shujaat Bukhari, last week. He was killed for his political views on the Kashmir issue.

There are numerous other murders which are being disguised as accidents. There were three mysterious hit and run deaths of journalists last month, all of them covering controversial stories. All killed within the span of 24 hours.

The deadly connection between Politics and Crime is taking a virulent, unacceptable path. India is not a banana republic. If we cannot even bring these killers to justice, that is exactly what we will become. These murders can be stopped if the government has the will.

Is there any other solution? Well, the media can try and fix it; prove the old adage that the pen is mightier than the sword. If all of the media got together and started covering stories of injustice and corruption, communalism and fundamentalism, together, and in hordes, it will make a difference. Right now too many journalists cover inconsequential news, or they copy and paste from news releases. If they could all just shout out the injustices, scream about the fundamentalism and corruption, investigate murky going on…if only! Or at least support the brave souls who go all out. If all of them did it, then possibly a lone crusader would not be targeted. The murderous cowards in power would run and hide.

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