The Editors Guild of India has written a letter to the Chief Minister of Assam, on the growing incidence of violence against journalists and urging him to take necessary steps to ensure their safety. The letter also has the list of 32 journalists killed in the state since 1991.
The Editors Guild of India has written a letter to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal expressing concern over “growing incidence” of violence against journalists in the state.
The jouranalists of Assam have been subjected to mob attacks, intimidation, and threats, which is vitiating the environment necessary for the functioning of an independent and vibrant media,” the Editors Guild said in the letter dated 19 November.
The Guild has urged “urgent intervention by Sonowal” to assure media personnel of their safety. The Guild noted that 32 journalists have been killed in Assam since 1991, but most cases “have not been resolved with allegations of shoddy investigations”.
The Editors Guild of India writes to you with deep concern about the growing incidence of violence against journalists in Assam. They have been subjected to mob attacks, intimidation, and threats, which is vitiating the environment necessary for the functioning of an independent and vibrant media.
While we appreciate your firm condemnation of these incidents, the situation demands your urgent intervention to assure the media that they are safe to report without fearing retribution from the criminal mafia. In the absence of that, a sense of impunity could embolden attackers who may believe that they are above the law.
The manner in which Milan Mahanta, 42, who writes for Asomiya Pratidin and Dainik Asom, was tied to a pole by five criminals and beaten mercilessly, is a testament of the difficult environment in which the journalists work in Assam. A video of this assault has gone viral on social media. Mahanta, who has named the assailants, claimed that he was beaten up for his reportage against the Kamrup district gambling and land mafias.
This incident comes close on the heels of the death of Parag Bhuyam, a journalist with Pratidin Time, who was overrun by a car near his home in Kakopathar. The Pratidin Time editor has alleged that Bhuyam was murdered as he had been receiving threats for exposing corruption and illegal activities of the criminal nexus in the Kakopathar area.
We record our appreciation of your efforts in bringing monetary relief to the kin of the 32 journalists killed in Assam since 1991 with generous compensations. However, most of the cases have not been resolved with allegations of shoddy investigations. In many cases culprits roam free, intimidating the families of the slain journalists. We hope you will urge the state police to take necessary steps for rebuilding confidence in the media, so that they can operate without fear.
Along with the statement the Guild also provided a list of the names of journalists killed in Assam since 1991.