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Indian sub-continent shows highest amount of violence against journalists in Asia

Saturday, 15 March 2014 - 6:46am IST | Agency: dna

As Arvind Kejriwal leader of the Aam Aadmi party threatens to jail journalists that appear to be pro-modi, injustice and violence against journalists in India is noted world over. "If our government comes to power then we will set an inquiry into this. And along with media people, all will be sent to jail," said Arvind Kejriwal in a television broadcast.

World Press Freedom Index 2014 confirms for the second year in a row, the Indian sub-continent has the highest growth in violence against journalists in the region. The most disturbing development is the increasingly targeted nature of the violence. Late last year, a prominent Indian journalist, Sai Reddy, was beaten and stabbed to death by a mob during while shopping at a market in the Basaguda village in the central state of Chhattisgarh.

Mid February this year, a havaldar of the 1st India Reserve Battalion (IRB) had been suspended over his alleged assault on a journalist of a local English daily. In January, three journalists covering an official programme of West Bengal Governor MK Narayanan and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee were manhandled by police. Assistant Commisisioner of detective department, Tanmoy Roy, also told the journalists, "Don't you know my powers? We have the right to push anybody."

A record number of journalists were killed in India in 2013. Half of these deaths were premeditated reprisals. This was twice the 2012 death toll and more than the death toll in Pakistan, along the world’s deadliest country for media personnel. The dangerous consequence of this is self-censorship leading to the lack of public interest news. Everyone from criminal organisations to political parties are a threat to India’s journalists.

Indian Journalists and their sources are also up for hard times ahead as India's Rs 400-crore automated surveillance system is on its way and will make whistle-blowing extremely difficult. The project in development is capable of snooping on all forms of communication regardless of of if its wireless, landline, satellite, internet or even voice over internet protocol calls.

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