NEW DELHI, Dec 29: India was among the three most dangerous countries for jourlists in 2015, with nine reporters losing their lives during the year, according to the annual report of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released on Tuesday.
The media watchdog said these deaths confirmed “India’s position as Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel, ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan”.
Only war-torn Iraq and Syria recorded the deaths of more jourlists than India. Four of the nine Indian jourlists murdered in the past year were killed “for still undetermined reasons”, Reporters Without Borders said.
Besides India, the eight other countries where the most jourlists were killed are Iraq (11), Syria (10), France (eight), Yemen (eight), Mexico (eight), South Sudan (seven), the Philippines (seven) and Honduras (seven).
A total of 110 jourlists were killed in connection with their work or for unclear reasons in 2015, and at least 67 were killed while reporting or because of their work.
The 67 deaths bring to 787 the total number of jourlists who were murdered, knowingly targeted or killed in the course of their work since 2005, the Paris-based organisation said. In 2014, there were 66 such fatalities.
Indian jourlists “daring to cover organised crime and its links with politicians have been exposed to a surge in violence, especially violence of crimil origin, since the start of 2015”, the report said.
Two murders monitored by RSF were linked to illegal mining, a sensitive environmental subject in India. “The idequacy of the Indian authorities’ response is reinforcing the climate of impunity for violence against jourlists,” RSF said.
“After the murder of Sandeep Kothari (the eighth jourlist to be killed for work-related reasons in two years), RSF urged the government to establish a tiol plan for protecting jourlists. A response that matches the scale of the threats to jourlists is now essential,” it added.
While 67 jourlists were targeted worldwide because of their work or killed while reporting, RSF said it had not been possible to clearly establish the circumstances or motives of 43 other deaths. Twenty-seven citizen-jourlists and seven media workers were also killed in 2015.
“The Charlie Hebdo attack made France the third deadliest country for jourlists in 2015...A western country had never suffered a massacre of this kind in the past,” the report said.
RSF condemned the worldwide failure to protect jourlists and called for a “response to match the emergency”. (Agencies)