At least 194 journalists in India were “targeted” by government agencies, non-state political actors, criminals, and armed opposition groups in 2022, as per encapsulated by Delhi-based think tank Rights and Risks Analysis Group.
It mentioned that 103 journalists were under government officials’ radar, while the remaining were targeted by the non-state actors, including political activists. Of the 91 journalists attacked by non-state political actors, “at least 41 were targeted by armed opposition groups in Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur and the Naxal affected areas”, the report said.
Of the journalists subjected to police arrest, detention, court cases or even physical assault, Jammu and Kashmir had the highest count at 48. Telangana was closely behind, with 40 journalists targeted there. At least 14 journalists in Odisha, 13 in Uttar Pradesh, 12 in Delhi and 11 in West Bengal were also targeted, said the statement issued by the rights group.
At least 70 journalists were arrested or detained last year, with a staggering 40 arrests made under the K Chandrashekar Rao-led government in Telangana. Six arrests were made in Uttar Pradesh, four in Jammu and Kashmir and three in Madhya Pradesh.
An FIR was lodged against 14 journalists in India last year, four journalists were summoned by the police and Enforcement Directorate, and 15 were physically attacked, threatened or harassed by public officials, according to the report. A maximum of four incidents involving physical assault against journalists took place in Odisha.
Meanwhile, the statement spotlighted that three journalists – Aakash Hussain, Sanna Irshad Mattoo and Rana Ayyub – were stopped by immigration officials last year from flying abroad.
From charges of sedition to defamation, to outraging religious sentiments, violating the IT Act and the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the cases under which the journalists were booked last year covered a wide spectrum.
Seven journalists were killed, with at least one of them, Subash Kumar Mahto, being murdered for his work.