Voters stand in socially distanced lines at a polling station during state elections in Paliganj, in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, on October 28, 2020. India is scheduled to hold legislative assembly elections in five states in April and May 2021. (AP/Aftab Alam Siddiqui)

CPJ launches safety guide for journalists covering Indian state elections

Journalist safety advice available in multiple languages

New York, March 8, 2021—The Committee to Protect Journalists has published a new India election safety guide for editors, journalists, and photographers covering events leading up to legislative assembly elections in the states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, and Puducherry.

This year has already been marked by cases of legal threats, attacks, and arrests of journalists in India, including reporters covering the farmers’ protests. CPJ last released country-specific safety advice for India’s national and provincial elections in 2019. The latest iteration of the guide addresses new challenges, such as physical safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and digital safety across video platforms and while working remotely. The guide also includes advice on tackling threats online; CPJ reporting has found that harassment, including targeted online campaigns, increases during elections.

“It’s important in any democracy for citizens to be informed ahead of elections, and they can’t do that without the news,” said Aliya Iftikhar, CPJ’s senior Asia researcher. “It is crucial that journalists in India are able to freely cover elections and political transitions, and we hope this guide will help journalists feel more secure and enable them to do their work as safely as possible.”

The safety guide is available in Assamese, Bengali, English, Hindi, Malayalam, and Tamil, and the written content may be freely republished and shared with credit to the Committee to Protect Journalists. CPJ’s resource center has additional information and tools for pre-assignment preparation and post-incident assistance. Journalists requiring assistance can contact CPJ Emergencies via [email protected], and those looking to interview a CPJ expert on election safety or press freedom in India can email [email protected].


CPJ is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.

Media contacts:

Bebe Santa-Wood

Communications Associate

[email protected]