Since 1992, 47 journalists have been killed in India, according to data compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a nonprofit organisation that campaigns for the right of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal. These 47 are out of 1,305 journalists killed worldwide in these 16 years — either murdered or killed in crossfire or on dangerous assignments. Before Rising Kashmir editor Shujaat Bukhari was gunned down in Srinagar last week, the previous year had seen a number of journalists being murdered, including Gauri Lankesh who was gunned down in Bengaluru, Sudip Dutta Bhaumik who was shot dead by a police officer in Tripura, and three journalists who were mowed down by vehicles in back-to-back killings — Navin Singh and Vijay Singh in Bihar, and Sandeep Sharma in Madhya Pradesh.
The 47 in 16 years work out to an average of three journalists killed a year. The CPJ website says 33 of them had been targeted for murder, and 32 of the 33 were murdered with impunity.
RSF (Reporters Without Borders), another nonprofit organisation that defends the freedom of the press, has ranked India at 138 among 180 countries on the Press Freedom Index for 2018, down two places from the previous year. On a scale where a higher score means less press freedom, India’s score is 43.24, six times as high as top-ranked Norway’s 7.63. North Korea is ranked at the bottom.
Tip for Reading List: A eulogy for classic rock
“For as long as I can remember”, American music critic Steven Hyden writes in his second book, “classic rock has been there for me. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, Springsteen, Neil Young, the Who, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, David Bowie — the fixtures of my classic-rock youth. But like all precious minerals, classic rock is a finite resource.” Hyden’s Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the end of Classic Rock deals with “how the true believer reacts when he realises that his faith in the immortality of classic-rock gods is diminished”. After the initial stages of denial and bargaining, what is left, he says, is acceptance and mourning.
An interview that Hyden gave to The New York Times pointed out that by the end of this year, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards will be a combined 150 years old, and “while it might be foolish to bet against the Rolling Stones touring in, say, 2025, there’s little doubt that the genre of classic rock — its practitioners, its fans, its clout — is in steep decline”. The reason why he wrote his eulogy to his gods, Hyden said in the interview, was that despite there being “a million books written about classic rock”, none had been written “from the perspective of Generation X, as if they were an archaeologist digging up bones”. Which didn’t make much sense because, don’t forget, “There’s a lot of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll, baby.”
This Word Means — Referendum 2020
What is this campaign that has triggered a political storm in Punjab and put AAP under the scanner?
Punjab Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Khaira has said that though he does not support the “Referendum 2020” campaign being carried out by a section US- and Canada-based Sikhs, the demand for an independent Sikh homeland stems from numerous grievances of the community from the unfair treatment at the time of Partition to Operation Blue Star and the massacre of 1984. Khaira’s statement has been seen by the Congress, SAD and the BJP as further proof that the AAP is hobnobbing with separatist elements settled abroad, an allegation that first surfaced during the Punjab Assembly elections.
“Referendum 2020” is being spearheaded by a New York-based organisation called Sikhs for Justice (SFJ). The legal adviser of the organisation, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, is the face of the campaign, which has called upon Sikhs across the world to vote in favour of Khalistan in “Indian occupied Punjab”. The SJF, Pannun has said, “is seeking independence referendum… to re-establish Sikh Country Khalistan democratically as per UN charter”.
The Punjab government registered a case of sedition against five people, including Pannun, in July 2017 after posters appeared across the state in support of “Referendum 2020”. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has dismissed the so-called referendum as “an imagination of people abroad”.