India: several journalists arrested in recent weeks for their reporting

  • 13 Apr 2022

NUJ calls on authorities to take action following recent cases highlighting the resistance media workers face in the country.

The NUJ has joined calls by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) urging authorities to release journalists in India arrested and detained for carrying out their work.

Journalists Ajit Ojha, Digvijay Singh and Rashtriya Sahara were arrested last month, after reporting on an examination paper question leak. All three were accused by authorities of deliberate attempts to leak the paper and answers, leading to their arrests alongside thirty others. 

Commenting, the IFJ said: "There is an unmistakable trend in the Indian authorities’ silencing of critical voices by filing false cases against journalists and media workers." The NUJ has condemned the arrests of the journalists."

On 6 April, it is alleged journalist Loknath Dalei was attacked and hospitalised after presenting at Nilagiri police station following a motorcycle incident. After being admitted to hospital, Dalei states he was placed in "iron shackles" to prevent him fleeing. He believes he was targeted by authorities for his reporting uncovering corruption by the police district. An investigation is expected to take place. The NUJ and IFJ is calling for this to happen swiftly and for authorities to protect the safety of journalists working in India.

The hostile treatment of journalists inthe country is also apparent through the recent arrest of Aasif Sultan on 10 April. In 2018, whilst working as assistant editor at news magazine "The Kashmir Narrator", Sultan published an article titled "The rise of Burhan" about a local armed group. Serving almost four years in prison, he was released due to insufficient evidence linking him to any military organisation. His re-arrest this April has been permitted under the use of the Public Safety Act (PSA) used to harass journalists.

The NUJ is calling for the release of Sultan and has expressed concern at the restrictive nature of the PSA, preventing bail applications or the right of journalists to have legal representation. Two other journalists Kashmir Walla and Sajad Gul have been detained under the act, with Walla sentenced in February this year.

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