The murder of 55-year-old independent journalist Gauri Lankesh at the hands of unidentified assailants outside her house in Bengaluru on Tuesday once again raises questions on freedom of press in our country. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists research, at least 27 journalists have been murdered in direct retaliation in India for their work since 1992. India also ranks 13th on CPJ’s latest Impunity Index, which is a measure of countries worldwide where journalists are killed and the murderers go free.
In May 2017, Reporters Without Borders also released an Index which ranks 180 countries according to the extent of press freedom for journalists. On that list, India stands at the 136th position, slipping three positions from the previous year. The report cites the rise of Hindu nationalism as a reason for the drop. “With Hindu nationalists trying to purge all manifestations of “anti-national” thought from the national debate, self-censorship is growing in the mainstream media,” the report states. Conflict-ridden Palestine state stands at the 135th position. Qatar, UAE, South Korea and Israel among the nations who have performed better than India on the list. Read | Journalist who spoke her mind shot dead in Bengaluru
In 2016, at least five journalists were murdered in targeted killings, according to an International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) report.
Karun Misra, Bureau Chief of Jan Sandesh Times, died on February 14, 2016
Mishra was shot by three motorcycle-borne men who stopped his car while he was on way to Ambedkar Nagar. He had died at the hospital during treatment.
Rajdeo Ranjan, Bureau Chief of Dainik Hindustan on May 13, 2016
Two bullets hit Ranjan— one on his forehead and the other, his neck. Ranjan was intercepted by two bike-borne assailants, one of whom fired from close range. He died on the way to hospital.
Indradev Yadav, Journalist with Taaza TV, on May 16, 2016
Yadav was returning home on his motorcycle around 10 pm, when unidentified assailants opened indiscriminate fire on him.
Kishore Dave, Jaihind-Sanjh Samachar on August 22, 2016
Dave was found with multiple stab wounds in his office. He was apparently alone in the office at that time.
Dharmendra Singh, Correspondent of Dainik Bhaskar on November 12, 2016
Kumar was drinking tea at a roadside stall at Amra Talaab when three people arrived on a bike and shot him twice on the chest from close range. He died on way to hospital.
In 2015, six media professionals had died in targeted killings.