Monday, December 4, 2023

Press freedom under attack in India, say six global journalist bodies ahead of Modi-Biden meeting

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Ahead of the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, six global journalist organizations said on Wednesday that press freedom in India is under attack.

In a Washington Post advertisement, six global journalist organizations said that journalists in India face a range of attacks, including physical violence, harassment, bogus lawsuits, and hate campaigns on social media.

The press bodies highlighted the arrest of journalists Aasif Sultan, Sajad Gul, Fahad Shah, Irfan Mehraj, Gautam Navlakha and Rupesh Kumar Singh.

The press bodies which issued the advertisement are Committee to Protect Journalists, The Washington Post Press Freedom Partnership, Reporters Without Borders, the International Press Institute, and the James W Foley Legacy Foundation.

“Leaders around the world who value democracy must urge those in power in India to stop the threats against journalists there,” read the advertisement.

Earlier, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued a statement calling on the U.S. government to urge India to end its media crackdown and release the six journalists arbitrarily detained in retaliation for their work.

“Since Prime Minister Modi came to power in 2014, there has been an increasing crackdown on India’s media,” said CPJ President Jodie Ginsberg. “Journalists critical of the government and the BJP party have been jailed, harassed, and surveilled in retaliation for their work. India is the world’s largest democracy, and it needs to live up to that by ensuring a free and independent media–and we expect the United States to make this a core element of discussions.”

Modi arrived in the United States on June 21 for a three-day visit.

Several lawmakers in the United Stated, Muslim groups and press bodies said they were concerned about the shrinking of political space and the rise of Islamophobia in India.

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