The Editors Guild of India on Thursday wrote a letter to Sarbananda Sonowal, the Chief Minister of Assam, to raise the growing incidences of violence against state journalists.
The letter urges the CM to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of journalists, adding a list of 32 journalists who have been killed in the state since 1991.
“They have been subjected to mob attacks, intimidation, and threats, which is vitiating the environment necessary for the functioning of an independent and vibrant media,” stated the release by the Editors Guild.
The release demanded “urgent intervention” from Sonowal to assure that the media persons are safe to report without fearing retribution from the “criminal mafia.” The release also brought in the matter of Milan Mahanta, who was recently tied to a pole by five people and was beaten mercilessly. Mahanta writes for Asomiya Pratidin and Dainik Asom. This “is a testament of the difficult environment in which the journalists work in Assam,” the statement said.
Mahanta had claimed he was beaten up for the reportage against the Kamrup district gambling and land mafias.
Editors Guild also mentioned the death of Parag Bhuyan, a journalist of Pratidin Time who was overrun by a car near his home in Kakopathar, Tinsukia. Editor of the news daily had alleged that Bhuyan was murdered and that he had been receiving threats for exposing the corruption and illegal activities of the criminal nexus in the Kakopathar area.
The Guild, while appreciating the efforts of CM Sonowal for providing monetary relief to the kin of the 32 journalists killed in Assam since 1991, did say that most of the cases have not been resolved with allegations of ‘shoddy investigations.’ “In many cases culprits roam free, intimidating the families of slain journalists,” added the release.