Dangerous Pursuit

Recommendations

The Committee to Protect Journalists offers the following recommendations:

To the Central Government:

  1. Bring together a group of experienced jurists, journalists, scholars, and experts specializing in freedom of expression issues to submit draft proposals for a national-level journalist safety and protection mechanism and a method to federalize crimes against free expression, which is a guaranteed right under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
  2. Study best practices used by nations facing similar threats to their media, including Colombia, where a national protection mechanism was set up to provide security, and Mexico, where a federal prosecutor’s office was set up to investigate attacks on the press and freedom of expression.
  3. Convene a parliamentary hearing on the issue of impunity in anti-press violence to identify shortcomings in providing justice and ways to overcome challenges of capacity in law enforcement and the judiciary.
  4. Provide sufficient resources and political support to improve the capacity of authorities—including the judiciary, the Central Bureau of Investigation, and the police—to conduct exhaustive and timely investigations and trials relating to crimes against journalists, including freelancers, bloggers, and those who publish news on social media.
  5. Condemn publicly and unequivocally all killings of journalists.
  6. Publicly recognize the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, held annually on November 2.
  7. Respond with detailed information on the judicial status of all cases of killed journalists and the steps taken to address impunity, as requested by UNESCO’s director-general for the bi-annual report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity. Make public the full responses.

To the Central Bureau of Investigation:

  1. Expeditiously complete investigations into the 2015 death of Akshay Singh in Madhya Pradesh and the 2011 murder of Umesh Rajput in Chhattisgarh; identify suspects and bring them before the appropriate court of law.

To the Uttar Pradesh state government:

  1. Immediately transfer the investigation into the 2015 death of Jagendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh from state police to the Central Bureau of Investigation.
  2. Spread greater awareness of the safety hotline set up for journalists in the state and take steps to investigate promptly any reports of threats or attacks.

To the Chhattisgarh state government:

  1. Order the police to immediately cease any and all intimidation of journalists attempting to do their work. Ensure that any actors, including the anti-Maoist group Samajik Ekta Manch, who harass or threaten journalists, are held to account.
  2. Release any journalists imprisoned in the state in connection to their work.

To the Indian media:

  1. Better investigate and report on issues of anti-press violence, including individual attacks, threats, and harassment, regardless of the victim’s media affiliation.
  2. Sign on to and implement the principles put forward by the ACOS Alliance (A Culture of Safety Alliance) and provide appropriate security and hostile-environment training for staff and freelancers; support journalists who are threatened or attacked; and hold police or other investigating agencies accountable for thorough investigations.
  3. Employers should provide up-to-date press identification cards to all media staff involved in newsgathering, including stringers and part-time employees.
  4. Employers should establish clear mechanisms for staff and freelancers to report threats, harassment, or attacks, and offer appropriate support.

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