India is Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel: Watchdog

Nine Indian reporters were among 110 journalists killed around the world in 2015, a media watchdog group said today, dubbing India as “Asia’s deadliest country” for media personnel, ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In its annual roundup, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said nine journalists had been murdered in India so far in 2015, some of them for reporting on organised crime and its links with politicians and others for covering illegal mining.

It said five journalists were killed in the course of their work and four for undetermined reasons. “Their deaths confirm India’s position as Asia’s deadliest country for media personnel, ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan,” RSF said.

“The inadequacy of the Indian authorities’ response is reinforcing the climate of impunity for violence against journalists,” it said.

Noting that it had urged the Indian government to establish “a national plan for protecting journalists”, the watchdog said, “a response that matches the scale of the threats to journalists is now essential.” It said 67 journalists were killed in the line of duty and another 43 died in circumstances that were unclear.

Another 27 non-professional “citizen-journalists” and seven other media workers were also killed, it said, adding that “two-thirds were killed in countries ‘at peace’.” “The 110 journalists killed this year need a response that matches the emergency. A special representative of the United Nations secretary-general for the safety of journalists must be appointed without delay,” it added.

Meanwhile, US-based Committee to Protect Journalists in its annual report said that Syria followed by France and Brazil are the top three deadliest countries for journalists.

Nine of those killings took place in France, which was second only to Syria as the most dangerous country for the press in 2015, said the report, according to which 40 per cent journalists died at the hands of Islamic militant groups such as Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.