Despite India's rising global profile, authorities used both antiquated and advanced techniques to threaten press freedom. One journalist remained imprisoned on anti-state charges, while the government implemented a surveillance system designed to monitor citizens' phone calls, text messages, and Internet communication, making it difficult for journalists to communicate privately with sources. India ranked second, behind only the United States, in the number of requests for user data made to Facebook and Google. Several journalists were attacked over the year, while at least two said they were assaulted by police. A female photojournalist was gang-raped while on assignment in Mumbai. In March, reporter Naveen Soorinje, who was imprisoned for documenting an assault in Karnataka, was released on bail, but the charges against him remained. Three journalists were killed in direct relation to their work, while at least three other journalist killings this year remain unsolved.
Les reportages des viols peuvent entrainer aux journalistes des répercussions rapides et imprévisibles, mais ils peuvent aussi changer les comportements. Par Frank Smyth
Remembering Tony Lewis
CPJ mourns the death this month of Anthony Lewis, one of the organization's founding board members and a recipient of its 2009 Burton Benjamin Award for lifetime achievement. Lewis passed away on March 25.
"Back in 1981, when CPJ was being formed and its board of directors assembled, Tony Lewis ... was one of the first people we approached," Michael Massing, CPJ's co-founder and board member, wrote in the CPJ Blog. "At the time, CPJ was an idea without money, office, or staff, but Tony at once saw the value of such an organization and signed on. His presence on CPJ's board and masthead helped give the organization immediate credibility; his devoted participation was invaluable as we expanded in size and mission over the next 30 years."
New York, March 25, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release on bail of Naveen Soorinje, a television reporter jailed for more than four months after documenting a large-scale assault on a group of young women in Karnataka state. CPJ considers the pending criminal charges to be baseless and retaliatory, and calls on authorities to drop them immediately.
Today marks International Women's Day. Hashtags like #IWD and #InternationalWomensDay have been trending on Twitter. Among the twitterati who voiced their support for women's rights was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He tweeted:
PM: Let me reiterate in this House the commitment of our govt. to ensuring the dignity, safety and security of every woman of this country.-- Dr Manmohan Singh (@PMOIndia) March 6, 2013
Confusion surrounds the case of imprisoned Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje, who was jailed for exposing an attack on young men and women last summer by extremists belonging to the Hindu Jagran Vedike, self-appointed moral police in coastal Karnataka. Soorinje's report helped lead to the arrest of dozens of attackers. But Karnataka state--ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)--has grouped him with the very attackers he exposed. Soorinje's continued imprisonment warrants a look at the larger picture in coastal Karnataka.
Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje continues to languish in prison despite last week's decision by the Karnataka state cabinet to withdraw charges against him. New developments this week are challenging his release. And his continued imprisonment raises a larger question about the role of journalists at the occurrence of a crime.
Although Naveen Soorinje is still in jail, there may be some good news. Today, 86 days after his arrest, the state cabinet in Karnataka decided to withdraw charges against him.
Even though members of the Karnataka state government have provided broad assurances that they will drop charges against Naveen Soorinje, the young journalist remains imprisoned two months after he was arrested for exposing an assault on women by Hindu extremists. Welcome to Incredible India, where a journalist can be locked up for documenting a crime against women even as millions express outrage over medieval mindsets following the fatal gang rape of a Delhi student in December.
Sign up for emailed alerts and newsletters to track global developments in press freedom. Be notified whenever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, killed, kidnapped, threatened, censored, or harassed. Or get a monthly newsletter to keep up with CPJ’s efforts to defend journalists around the globe.