New York, December 17, 2019 — Indian authorities must ensure the safety of all journalists covering protests across the country, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
Tens of thousands of people have gathered on college campuses across India since December 11 to protest a new citizenship law, which eases the path to citizenship for persecuted religious groups from neighboring countries, but excludes Muslims, according to news reports. Police allegedly assaulted at least two journalists covering the protests, in Srinagar today and in Delhi on December 15, and students pushed and shoved a news crew in Delhi on December 13, according to news reports.
“Indian authorities must ensure that journalists can cover the nationwide protests freely and without harm from security forces or demonstrators,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “Journalists play a fundamental role in documenting historic events and must not be obstructed or retaliated against in any way.”
At least 80 people were injured amid protests at Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh and at least 50 people were injured in Delhi, according to a report by the BBC. Police officers shot and killed at least two protesters in Assam, according to news reports.
Journalists covering protests in India or elsewhere can consult CPJ’s Safety Notes for covering civil disorder.