Editorial

NORTHEASTERN REGION REMAINS SAFE FOR JOURNOS

December 22, 2019 09:54 AM

NJ Thakuria

Guwahiti : As the year 2019 is approaching the finish line, India appears to  improve its journo-murder index with only two casualties and the northeastern region (NE) with none this year. The world witnesses  murders of nearly 50 scribes for journalistic works and India’s share  has also gone down considerably from six to two incidents of  journo-killings. On the other hand, NE has evaded any incident of  journalist’s killing for the second consecutive year.

Often described as a disturbed zone because of relentless violence  engineered by armed separatist militants, NE (except Tripura) has  avoided journo-murder incidents for many years. Tripura reported the  murder of five media persons in 2013 and 2017, whereas Assam and  Manipur witnessed the last killing of media persons (Dwijamani Nanao  Singh from Imphal and Raihanul Nayum from Dhubri) in  2012. 

Often described as a disturbed zone because of relentless violence  engineered by armed separatist militants, NE (except Tripura) has  avoided journo-murder incidents for many years. Tripura reported the  murder of five media persons in 2013 and 2017, whereas Assam and  Manipur witnessed the last killing of media persons (Dwijamani Nanao  Singh from Imphal and Raihanul Nayum from Dhubri) in  2012. *For Indian working journalists, the year 2017 can be identified as a  deadliest year as 12 scribes (Hari Prakash, Brajesh Kumar Singh, Shyam  Sharma, Kamlesh Jain, Surender Singh Rana, Gauri Lankesh, Shantanu  Bhowmik, KJ Singh, Rajesh Mishra, Sudip Datta Bhaumik, Naveen Gupta  and Rajesh Sheoran) were either murdered or killed in suspicious situations. 

In contrast, central Indian States continue pouring news related to the  murder of journalists regularly.  Till the recent time, the region with a population of over 60 million was a breeding ground for insurgents fighting against New Delhi with  demands ranging from self-rule to sovereignty. Surrounded by Nepal,   Bhutan, Tibet (presently occupied by China), Myanmar, and Bangladesh, the region supports hundreds of newspapers, published in various languages like English, Assamese, Hindi, Bengali, Mizo, Bodo, Meitei, Karbi, Khasi etc and few news channels and portals to cater the need  of dedicated audiences.

 For Indian working journalists, the year 2017 can be identified as a  deadliest year as 12 scribes (Hari Prakash, Brajesh Kumar Singh, Shyam  Sharma, Kamlesh Jain, Surender Singh Rana, Gauri Lankesh, Shantanu  Bhowmik, KJ Singh, Rajesh Mishra, Sudip Datta Bhaumik, Naveen Gupta  and Rajesh Sheoran) were either murdered or killed in suspicious situations. Among the casualties, Tripura reported two incidents of journo-murder (Shantanu and Sudip Datta).

 Massive protests erupted across the country against the killings of  journalists, more precisely the murder of Ms Gauri in Bangaluru. The then Communist chief minister of Tripura, Manik Sarkar also personally  joined in a protest rally at Agartala demanding justice over her  murder. But pathetic news was waiting for him as a young television  reporter from his State (Shantanu Bhowmik) fall prey to a mob violence on 20 September. Later one more journalist’s murder  (Sudip Datta Bhaumik on 21 November) by a policeman put Sarkar in the most awkwardposition.  The country as a whole we lost eight scribes in 2019 to assailants, but only two murders are understood as being related to journalism related causes. Andhra Pradesh based journalist K Satyanarayana and Madhya Pradesh based journalist  Chakresh Jain faced the fate because of their works as journalists. However, four other cases are yet to be confirmed that they were targeted for media activities.

Young reporter Satyanarayana, who worked for Telugu daily 'Andhra  Jyothy', was hacked to death by miscreants at Annavaram village of  East Godavari district on the night of 15 October. Local scribes  reported that Satyanarayana was targeted in an earlier occasion too  and he informed it to the local police.   Jain, a freelance journalist died of serious burn injuries on 19 June as he was involved in a  quarrel with the assailant at Shahgarh locality.

 Others who were killed this year include  Vijay Gupta (Kanpur-based scribe shot dead by  close relatives on 29 October), Radheyshyam  Sharma (Kushinagar-based journalist murdered by his neighbours on 10  October), Ashish Dhiman (Saharanpur-based photojournalist  shot dead  along with his brother by neighbours on 18 August), Anand Narayan (news channel contributor of Mumbai murdered by miscreants on  4 June), Nityanand Pandey (magazine editor in Thane killed by an  employee on 17 March). Earlier, Kerala-based journalist K Muhammed Basheer lost his life as a  running vehicle, driven by a senior government officer, mowed down him on 3 August. Bihar’s scribe Pradeep Mandal was targeted by miscreants on 28 July, but he survived luckily. He contributed a number of news  items against the local liquor mafia for Dainik Jagaran and invited  enmities from the goons.

Meanwhile, a Guwahati based scribe named  Naresh Mitra died on 9 December after sustaining head injuries in amysterious accident inside the city.  While Mexico, Syria, Somalia, Iraq, etc tops the list of  journo-murders, our neighbours Pakistan and Afghanistan remain ahead  of everyone in South Asia as both the countries witnessed the murder  of five journalists each in 2019. Conflict-riddled Pakistan reported  the killing of  Zafar Abbas, Mirza Waseem Baig,  Muhammad Bilal Khan, Ali Sher Rajpar, and Malik Amanullah Khan for journalistic activities. Afghanistan lost  Jabid Noori, Nader Shah Sahebzadeh, Sultan Mohammad  Khairkhah, Shafiq Aria, and Rahimullah Rahmani to assailants.  Various national and international media rights bodies including  Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), New York-based Committee  to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Brussels-based International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) etc have come out with separate reports that sizable number of journalists were murdered in the world during 2019, which is the lowest death toll in 15 years.

Last year the  casualties were  95. Those organizations continue demanding  due probes and punishments to the culprits. While defining journalists as individuals who cover news or comment on public affairs in print, radio, television, online outlets etc, those organizations maintained that incidents of abuse, assault-attacks and imprisonment of scribes by government forces, political goons, anti-social elements, etc continue everywhere as over 350 journalists were imprisoned in 2019, where  China, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Vietnam, etc have taken the lead.

Have something to say? Post your comment
Copyright © 2017, Face 2 News, All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions Privacy Policy Disclaimers