New York, February 16, 2016–The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on investigators in India’s most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, to act quickly to bring the killers of journalist Karun Misra to justice.
Three gunmen on motorcycles fatally shot Misra, 32, in Sultanpur as he was driving to his home in Ambedkar Nagar on the afternoon of February 13, according to local media reports. Misra was the Ambedkar Nagar bureau chief of the Hindi daily Jansandesh Times. The motive behind Misra’s killing was not immediately clear. CPJ’s data show India is becoming a more dangerous place to practice journalism, and that Uttar Pradesh, in particular, has emerged as a dangerous place to be a journalist.
Soon after Misra’s murder, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav expressed his “deep concern” about Misra’s death, and ordered Director-General of Police Javeed Ahmed to form special teams to investigate the case, according to press reports.
“Welcome as official expressions of ‘deep concern’ may be, they are meaningless if not followed by thorough investigations, arrests, and criminal convictions,” CPJ’s Asia program coordinator Bob Dietz said. “We call on Uttar Pradesh authorities to show that those who murder journalists will not escape punishment by making sure that the men who killed Karun Misra face the full force of the law.”
Few of those who attack or kill journalists in India are brought to justice, according to CPJ’s research. Of the 11 murders of journalists CPJ has confirmed as work-related in the last 10 years in India, all have been carried out with complete impunity.
In June 2015, freelance journalist Jagendra Singh died of burn injuries he sustained during a police raid of his home in Uttar Pradesh. Before his death, Singh told a police officer that another police officer had doused him in fuel and set him on fire, according to press reports. Police told CPJ that Singh had set himself on fire during the arrest raid. To date, no one has been convicted in his death.
In October 2015, a reporter for the Hindi-language TV 24, Hemant Yadav was fatally shot in Uttar Pradesh. No one has been convicted of committing that crime either, according to CPJ research.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The text has been modified to reflect the correct spelling of Ambedkar Nagar and Misra’s news outlet, Jansandesh Times.