Journalists brace for attacks during India election

Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend an election campaign rally in Meerut, India, on March 31, 2024.
Supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend an election campaign rally in Meerut, India, on March 31, 2024. (Photo: Reuters/Anushree Fadnavis)

From April 19 until June 1, the world’s biggest democracy will hold the world’s biggest election, which the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been in power since 2014, is expected to win.

CPJ spoke to reporters and editors across India about their plans for covering these historic parliamentary elections in a difficult environment for the media, which has seen critical websites censored, prominent editors quit and independent outlets bought by politically-connected conglomerates, while divisive content has grown in popularity. 

Chief among journalists’ concerns is election violence. Many journalists fear that they will not receive adequate protection or support from their newsrooms on dangerous assignments. More than a dozen journalists were harassed or injured during the 2020 Delhi riots, the capital’s worst communal violence in decades, in which more than 50 people died.

Read CPJ’s safety guide for journalists covering the India election

Read more of CPJ’s India coverage

CPJ, news leaders hold moment of silence for Gaza journalists
News leaders and journalists attend the event for Gaza journalists on April 19. (Photo: Courtesy of International Journalism Festival)

The Committee to Protect Journalists joined scores of reporters and news leaders who gathered at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy in a moment of silence and solidarity with journalists in Gaza. Festival attendees stood on the steps outside the Palazzo dei Priori for the April 19 ceremony.

CPJ has documented that at least 97 journalists and media workers were among more than 34,000 killed since the war began on October 7, and numerous other journalists have been injured, arrested and attacked.

More on the war:
CPJ calls for probes into Israeli attacks on journalists at refugee camp, hospital
CPJ CEO Jodie Ginsberg’s New York Times essay on why the Israeli censorship regime must stop

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Journalists Attacked

Evan Gershkovich


Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich has been imprisoned in Russia since March 29, 2023. Gershkovich has been charged with espionage and is the first American journalist to face such accusations by Russia since the end of the Cold War. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

Gershkovich, The Wall Street Journal, and the U.S. government have all denied the espionage allegations. On April 11, 2023, the U.S. State Department designated Gershkovich as “wrongfully detained,” which unlocked a broad government effort to free him.

CPJ, media organizations, and the U.S. government have repeatedly called for his immediate release.

At least 22 journalists were imprisoned for their work in Russia at the time of CPJ’s 2023 prison census.

The Committee to Protect Journalists promotes press freedom worldwide.

We defend the right of journalists to report the news safely and without fear of reprisal.

journalists killed in 2024 (motive confirmed)
imprisoned in 2023
missing globally