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 calls for probes into Israeli attacks on journalists at refugee camp, hospital
Journalists Sami Shehadeh (center) and Sami Barhoom (right) are seen at a hospital following the Israeli attack on a Gaza refugee camp on April 12. (Screenshot: CPJ/TRT World)

On April 12, an Israel Defense Forces attack on a group of Gaza journalists wearing press insignia while reporting from the Nuseirat refugee camp resulted in Turkish broadcaster TRT cameraman Sami Shehadeh having his leg amputated. “The IDF’s disregard for press insignia, both after and prior to October 7, endangers the lives of journalists,” said CPJ’s program director, Carlos Martínez de la Serna.

CPJ called for an independent investigation into this attack, as well as the March 31 Israeli attack on the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Gaza, in which eight journalists were injured.

Read CPJ CEO Jodie Ginsberg in The New York Times 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