7 journalists behind bars in India, 5 charged under UAPA: CPJ

Four of the total jailed journalists in India are from Jammu and Kashmir.

WrittenBy:NL Team
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A total of 320 journalists across the world are behind bars, and seven of these mediapersons are incarcerated in India, as per the 2023 prison census report by the Committee to Protect Journalists. 

The report which collated data until December 1 last year said the total count of jailed journalists is the second-highest since the census began in 1992, indicating the “entrenched authoritarianism and the vitriol of governments” against independent voices. 

The seven journalists incarcerated in India is also a record high for the country for the third consecutive year.  The report said three journalists were released last year, but three more were also jailed.  

Four out of these seven mediapersons are from Jammu and Kashmir, and five out of the total have been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

India “continues to draw criticism” over its use of anti-terror laws, including the UAPAand the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act to “silence the media”, said the report. 

The incarcerated journalists are Aasif Sultan of Kashmir Narrator, who has been in jail since August 2018; Sajad Gul of The Kashmir Walla, jailed since January 2022; independent journalist Rupesh Kumar Singh, jailed since July 2022; independent journalist Gautam Navlakha, under detention since April 2020; Prabir Purkayastha of NewsClick, who has been incarcerated since October last year; and independent journalists Majid Hyderi and Irfan Mehraj, in detention since September and March last year, respectively.

It also noted that ranked sixth alongside Iran, Israel has emerged as “one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists” since the Israel-Hamas war began on October 7. The top five countries jailing journalists are China, Myanmar, Belarus, Russia, and Vietnam.

Newslaundry has consistently reported on press freedom violations in India, including the arrest and detention of journalists. Check out all our stories here

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