The killing of senior Kannada journalist Gauri Lankesh has sparked nationwide outrage with its resonance felt across the country. Lankesh, 55, editor of Kannada weekly Lankesh Patrike and a staunch critic of right-wing extremism, was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru West on Tuesday. The state government has announced an SIT probe into the killing and promised speedy investigation and justice for close friends and family of the victim.
Opposition leaders have been quick to condemn the incident, demanding strong and swift retribution against the attackers. Union ministers like Smriti Irani and Rajyavardhan Rathore have also condemned the killing. As the media fraternity across the country gathered to mark their protest against such attacksAs many in the country gather to protest against the cold-blooded murder, here’s a look into how foreign media organisations covered the incident:
In an obituary piece on Lankesh, the BBC has quoted her friends and colleagues who found Lankesh at once a belligerent and loving personality. They said she fought and made up easily. They talked about her political preferences, how she made no bones about her dislike for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling BJP. Her Facebook posts often contained unflattering memes of the Prime Minister, her friends told BBC.
In a recent post, she lauded India’s stand-up comics for “successfully doing more than most to destroy the Modi myth”. Typically, she lent her support to them, saying “We are all with you together and we shall reclaim our secular India.” In recent months, Lankesh wrote on rising attacks on the freedom of press, local politics and how her city and India’s info-tech capital had become unsafe for women.
New York Times
“Ms. Lankesh’s death, which monopolized television news coverage on Wednesday, set off protests across India, a country increasingly polarized by supporters of the Hindu nationalist governing party and its detractors,” read the NYT report headlined ‘In India, Another Government Critic Is Silenced by Bullets.’
The New York-headquartered newspaper quoted journalist Rana Ayyub saying Lankesh was ‘fighting a very unpopular battle with the right wing of India.’
“Ms. Ayyub said Ms. Lankesh had received death threats every day, far too many to count, from different sides of the political equation. Those, too, she did not take seriously, Ms. Ayyub said,” the report read.
The Washington Post
The Washington Post reported the turn of events since the killing of Lankesh in Bengaluru. The newspaper spoke of the protests converging, mostly among press associations, in different corners of the country and how they raised questions about India’s slipping of position in the World Press Freedom Index.
“They want us to be intimidated…I hope that a thousand Gauri Lankeshes will be born and will rise among us,” Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, former editor of the academic journal Economic and Political weekly was quoted by the newspaper.
Close friends of Lankesh expressed disbelief at the news of her death. “I wish it was a dream,” said Bharathi Gowda, who knew Lankesh for three decades. “Her family is in shock.”
“Gauri Lankesh: A ‘fearless’ Indian journalist silenced,” read the headline of a story of Al Jazeera, a Doha-headquartered television station.
The report quoted statements from the Editors Guild of India and Asia Program coordinator Steven Butler.
“India needs to address the problem of impunity in journalist murders and ensure the press can work freely,” Steven Butler, CPJ Asia Program Coordinator, told Al Jazeera.
The news of Lankesh’s killing was met with shock and outrage, with journalists, civil society members and students across the country sharply condemning the murder, the killing also sent a shockwave through the journalism industry in the world’s largest democracy, where media has been accused of “self-censorship”, reported Doha-headquartered television station Al Jazeera.
The article also went on the describe Lankesh’s early background and her journalistic career that started with the Times of India.