The Press Club of India and Indian Women’s Press Corps express serious concern that journalists on duty have come under attack while covering the communal violence rocking northeast Delhi since last Sunday.
Several of them have been hospitalized. They have been punched and attacked by communal mobs, and police were either absent or have not come to help. Shockingly, mobs were checking religious credentials of journalists.
A television journalist has sustained gunshot injuries. Another has been hit in the face and has several teeth missing. A woman journalist has also sustained injuries. Television media seem to have been specially targeted.
We have little doubt the attackers actively sought to prevent videography or photography that may lead to them being identified.
A lethargic police and politicians instigating communal violence cannot escape blame for attacks on the media.
A few weeks ago, journalists were physically assaulted by the police themselves when reporting the violence that attended the Jamia protests.
Earlier, police stood mutely while supporters of right-wing mobs that had attacked JNU heckled and hit journalists.
We expect the authorities, particularly the police and the Union home ministry, to be alive to democratic sensibilities and ensure that media are not brought under physical assault.
Anand K Sahay Jyoti Malhotra,
(President, Press Club of India) (President, IWPC)