Press freedom woes in election states: 122 instances in Chhattisgarh, 64 in MP

We analysed data on arrests, murders, assaults and more involving journalists over the last five years.

WrittenBy:Tanishka Sodhi
A cartoon depicts a politician racing ahead of a journalist while trying to stop him with a remote-controlled trap door.

India’s press freedom woes have been reported ad nauseam in the media – from police raids to harassment to arrests to denial of bail.

Now, five states – Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram – are set to hold assembly elections whose results will be out in December. So, we took a look at just how well they’re doing when it comes to freedom of the press. How many journalists are targeted for doing their jobs?

The results aren’t inspiring.

In the last five years, Chhattisgarh recorded 122 instances of curtailment of press freedom. Madhya Pradesh recorded 64, Telangana 55, and Rajasthan 17. Mizoram, which is a smaller state than the other four, recorded nine.

These figures aren’t exhaustive. 

To put together this data, an instance has been defined as any arrest, FIR, show-cause notice, murder, assault, detention, raid, summons, and act of intimidation pertaining to the journalist’s work activities. For example, if one journalist was booked in two FIRs, it has been counted as two instances. 

This information was gathered by scanning news reports over the last five years and cross-checking it with local journalists in the states.

And for the corresponding figures for each state, the report has illustrated only certain examples.

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