Media Professionals bring the truth to us, and we need an end to impunity for Crimes against Journalists
In 2011, The United Nations identified Journalism as one of the most dangerous professions because obviously, it involves a lot of passion, struggle, dedication, the responsibility of being objective and ethically correct at every step. But not just because of this. As a journalist, there is a lot of risk to life and unlike the profession like security and defence, the risk to life factor is often overlooked when it comes to journalism as a profession. A journalist or a reporter is a person who is the watchdog to the society, and obviously, the people who are involved in activities that are precisely illegal and toxic won’t like these watchdogs. While this is one reason for the crime on journalists, there are several others and what is disappointing is that the crimes against Journalists are often ignored. To address this concern, on 2nd November, the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is seen to address and seek redressal for crimes against the Journalists.
According to a report by Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an organisation that works for the rights of journalists, a total of 47 journalists got killed between 1992-2019 in India itself. The killing of Achyutananda Sahu in a Maoist Attack, Chandan Tiwary, Ranchi based Journalist abducted and beaten to death, Shujaat Bukhari, editor of Srinagar-based daily was shot dead by gunmen are the victims, to name a few.
According to the UN Report, between 2006 – 19, a total of 1200 journalists have been reportedly killed for reporting news and bringing stories to the public. And, surprising and disturbing is the fact that in nine out of ten cases, the killer goes unpunished or unidentified. While these are the cases of killing, if we go on to calculating the threats, non – fatal attacks, physical and mental torture, arbitrary detentions, harassment and verbal, physical and sexual abuses, journalists and reporters receive in everyday lives, we surely will fail to form a credible record as there are so many cases, that many will go unaddressed.
Where crime against them is one problem, the impunity of these criminals is another. We obviously know punishing won’t stop crime. But there have been so many cases where the one inflicting the crime goes unpunished and this fact gives a way to more killing. It also shows the weakness of the judicial systems in acknowledging their role in giving justice to journalists and further, discourages the future journalists from entering the profession with these stories.
Where we, as an organisation that is a very small part of the Media industry and is gaming to grow in the same stream, knowing these stats makes us feel disappointed. Journalists are the one who has been long known for bringing the unpopular, unconventional and of course, difficult and conflicting opinions in front of all. Most for all, what they do is they bring the truth in front of masses, that truth, that precisely, neither the state, not by other power wants the public to know. And, they bring it in the rawest form. If these speakers of truth risk their lives, and we have a body (judiciary) to give unbiased justice to every victim of any crime, then why haven’t we seen journalists getting the justice they should be getting. Call it our voice, or call it the voice of every journalist or media worker out there, on this International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalist, we demand justice to crimes against journalists.