New Delhi: Amnesty International India on Wednesday said that India was going through a dangerous time as it is tough to speak truth to authorities in the country. On the death anniversary of Indian journalist-turned-activist Gauri Lankesh, the rights body said that attacks on the fourth pillar of democracy not only curtailed the freedom of speech and expression but also had a ‘silencing effect’. Also Read - Bangalore Containment Zones: Total Count Surpasses 20,000-mark, South Zone Tops The List With 4,100 COVID Hotspots | Full List
Aakar Patel of Amnesty India said, “While it is heartening that the investigation into Gauri Lankesh’s murder seems to be progressing, investigations into several other attacks on journalists and whistle-blowers have yielded precious little. It is a dangerous time for anyone who speaks truth to power in India.” Patel further said that this was the time when investigations must be carried out for all the attacks on journalists till date. He added, “Journalism cannot be suppressed by those refusing to acknowledge the truth.” Also Read - Tribute to Doctors: Lord Ganesha Idols in Bengaluru Dressed As Healthcare Workers Ahead Of Ganesh Chaturthi
Recalling Lankesh’s killing, Amnesty India said that the cold-blooded murder of the journalist is part of a growing pattern of attacks on the community in the country. It must be noted that the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranked India 12th in its 2017 Global Impunity Index, which ranks countries where the murder of journalists are least likely to be prosecuted. On the other hand, Reporters Without Borders stated that in the first six months of 2018, at least four journalists have been killed in India and at least three more have been physically attacked. Also Read - Bengaluru Lockdown: Iconic KR Market, Kalasipaiya Market to Remain Closed Till August 31
Amnesty India also spoke about the recent attacks on rights activists and poets citing the house arrest of civil liberties activist Gautam Navlakha and left-leaning poet Varavara Rao on charges of having ties with Maoists.
Meanwhile, as per the data available with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), more than 204 attacks against media persons have been registered in India between 2014 and 2017. India’s position among 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index has gone from 136 in 2017 to 138 in 2018, the Bureau said. The NCRB also stated that whistle-blowers and Right to Information (RTI) activists were also being targeted.