Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tripura topped the list of States and Union Territories where journalists and media houses were targeted in 2021, a report by a New Delhi-based rights group said on Wednesday.
Comment | Unabating attacks on journalists
At least six journalists were killed, 108 attacked and 13 media houses or newspapers targeted across the country, according to the India Press Freedom Report 2021 by the Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG) said.
“The highest number of journalists or media organisations targeted was in J&K (25), followed by Uttar Pradesh (23), Madhya Pradesh (16), Tripura (15), Delhi (8), Bihar (6), Assam (5), Haryana and Maharashtra (4 each), Goa and Manipur (3 each), Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (2 each), and Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Kerala (1 each),” the report stated.
While J&K recorded the maximum attacks by State actors, Tripura had the most cases of attacks by non-State actors, the analysis of data showed.
Also read: KUWJ condemns attack on journalist
Eight women journalists faced arrest, summons and registration of First Information Reports.“The widespread attacks on the press freedom from J&K to Tripura are an indicator of the continuing deterioration of civic space in the country. The Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, is an affirmation of the government’s intent to crack down on media freedom,” RRAG director Suhas Chakma said.
Spotlight on J&K
The spotlight on attacks against media freedom during 2021 remained on J&K. Out of the 17 journalists arrested or detained in the country, five were from J&K, followed by Delhi (3), Maharashtra, Manipur and Tripura (2 each), and Assam, Chhattisgarh and Haryana (1 each), the report noted.
In 2021, at least 24 journalists were allegedly physically attacked, threatened, harassed and obstructed from doing their professional works by public officials, including police, across the country. The police assaulted 17 of them. The year saw FIRs registered against 44 journalists, 21 of them under Section 153 of the IPC relating to promoting enmity.
Also read: Attacks on journalists cast a shadow on state of freedom of expression: CHRI
In 2021, the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department raided offices of media houses or newspapers and houses of journalists who were critical of policies and functioning of the government, the report said.