New Delhi, Feb 2 (EFE).- At least six journalists were killed in India last year, a media watchdog report said Wednesday, indicating continuous deterioration of civic space and press freedom in the country.
The Rights and Risks Analysis Group (RRAG), in its “India Press Freedom Report 2021,” highlighted the targeted attacks on journalists and media houses in the country.
The report corroborates the findings of the Reporters Without Borders that last year placed India at a dismal 142 spot on the World Press Freedom Index, making it “one of the world’s most dangerous places for journalists trying to do their job properly.”
The RRAG said 121 journalists and media houses were targeted in India in 2021.
The highest number of such attacks occurred in the conflict-torn northern Kashmir region, battling a three-decade armed rebellion against Indian rule.
The most populous state of Uttar Pradesh followed closely with 23 attacks.
“Six journalists were killed in the country while eight female journalists faced arrest, summon, first information reports (FIRs) and sexual harassment,” the report said.
“The widespread attacks on the press freedom from Kashmir to Tripura (in northeast) are an indicator of continuing deterioration of civic space in the country,” RRAG Director Suhas Chakma said in a statement.
The report said regional governments invoked various anti-sedition and counter-terror laws against media houses that resulted in the arrest of at least 17 journalists last year.
“The spotlight on attacks against media freedom during 2021 remained on Kashmir. Out of the 17 journalists arrested in the country, (the region) reported the highest cases of arrest and detentions with five journalists followed by Delhi (three), Maharashtra, Manipur and Tripura (two each) and Assam, Chhattisgarh and Haryana (one each).”
Kashmir figured on the top of the list of denial of media freedom.
Journalists in Kashmir often found themselves summoned to police stations, accused in reports, their houses raided and beaten by the security forces, said the report.
Last month, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression flagged the “allegations of intimidations, searches and confiscations” faced by the human rights groups and journalists in Kashmir. EFE