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Since 1992, 27 Indian journalists investigating corruption have been murdered, says Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) of New York

Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir are the most dangerous areas to report from, given their "volatile" institutional structures and "complex" civil societies, the report said

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Representational Image. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

New Delhi, September 1, 2016: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a non-profit organisation based in New York, stated that as many as 27 journalists have been murdered in Indian direct retaliation for their work since 1992.

Lately, the CPJ reported, ‘Dangerous pursuit: In India, journalists who cover corruption may pay with their lives’, tells the stories of Jagendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh, Umesh Rajput in Chhattisgarh and Akshay Singh in Madhya Pradesh.

“The challenges faced by India’s press are highlighted by the cases of Jagendra Singh, Umesh Rajput, and Akshay Singh. Corruption was the impetus for all three journalists’ final reports and in all three cases, there have been no convictions,” Sumit Galhotra, CPJ’s Asia Program senior research associate, wrote in the report.

Freelancer Jagendra Singh, who died after being set on fire allegedly by the police in June 2015, was investigating allegations that a local minister was involved in land grabs and a rape. Before he was shot dead in January 2011, Umesh Rajput was investigating allegations of medical negligence and claims that the son of a politician was involved illegal gambling. Investigative reporter Akshay Singh was working on a story linked to the US $1 billion Vyapam admissions scandal — tests for professional jobs run by the Madhya Pradesh government — “when he died unexpectedly in July 2015”.

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Assam, Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir are the most dangerous areas to report from (statistics do not put Chhattisgarh in the top three), given their “volatile” institutional structures and “complex” civil societies, the report said.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF), a global advocacy, called India“Asia’s deadliest country for Media personnel, ahead of both Pakistan and Afghanistan”, IndiaSpend reported in April 2016.

The CPJ report also shows how small-town journalists face greater risks than those from larger cities, and how India’s culture of impunity is leaving the country’s Mediavulnerable to threats and attacks. “They rarely get support from their employers if they are targeted,” Sujata Madhok, general secretary of the DelhiUnion of Journalists, told CPJ. “The gulf between journalists working in rural or remote areas and those working in big cities is huge”.

“The language a reporter writes in and, most importantly, what they are writing about — especially if it challenges the powerful — increase the vulnerability,” P. Sainath, co-founder of People’s Archive of Rural India, wrote in the report.

“While rural and small-town journalists often have to cover multiple beats, those included in CPJ’s list focused mainly on corruption, crime, and politics: three beats often closely intertwined,” the report said. “This hasn’t changed too much in the past three decades, but it has become worse with the retreat of the mainstream Media from covering rural India in any depth.”

Police are responsible for the first stages in any investigation, Geeta Sheshu, consulting editor of The Hoot, a Mediawatchdog, told CPJ. “A faulty first information report, not applying the appropriate sections of the law, not clearly recording witness statements or protecting vulnerable witnesses, and not following up on preliminary investigations can be damaging.”

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The CPJ has made various recommendations to the central government, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probing the death of Akshay Singh and Umesh Rajput, the Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh state governments and the Indian media.

These include: Provide sufficient resources and political support to improve the capacity of authorities to conduct timely investigations and trials relating to crimes against journalists, including freelancers, bloggers, and those who publish news on social media;

Immediately transfer the investigation into the 2015 death of Jagendra Singh in Uttar Pradesh from state police to the CBI; and employers should establish clear mechanisms for staff and freelancers to report threats, harassment, or attacks, and offer appropriate support. (IANS)

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  • Kabir Chaudhary

    Couldn’t agree more. Vayyapam scam for instance.

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Definitely true. It should be seen as a serious matter of concern..these politics are let to control or even take life’s of those working for nation and its ethics.

  • Arya Sharan

    Fair and ethical reporting is the what society demand from the media but when the truth is revealed, the same media has to suffer.

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  • Kabir Chaudhary

    Couldn’t agree more. Vayyapam scam for instance.

  • Jagpreet Kaur Sandhu

    Definitely true. It should be seen as a serious matter of concern..these politics are let to control or even take life’s of those working for nation and its ethics.

  • Arya Sharan

    Fair and ethical reporting is the what society demand from the media but when the truth is revealed, the same media has to suffer.

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New York Orders State to Investigate in Facebook Access to Data

Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over privacy issues.

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FILE - The Facebook app icon is shown on an iPhone in New York. VOA

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday ordered two state agencies to investigate a media report that Facebook Inc may be accessing far more personal information from smartphone users, including health and other sensitive data, than had previously been known.

The directive to New York’s Department of State and Department of Financial Services came after The Wall Street Journal said testing showed that Facebook collected personal information from other apps on users’ smartphones within seconds of them entering it.

The WSJ reported that several apps share sensitive user data including weight, blood pressure and ovulation status with Facebook. The report said that the company can access data in some cases even when the user is not signed into Facebook or does not have a Facebook account.

Facebook, iphone, new york
Shares in Facebook took a short-lived hit after the Wall Street Journal report was published, but closed up 1.2 percent. Pixabay

In a statement Cuomo called the practice an “outrageous abuse of privacy.” He also called on the relevant federal regulators to become involved.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Shares in Facebook took a short-lived hit after the Wall Street Journal report was published, but closed up 1.2 percent.

In late January Cuomo along with New York Attorney General Letitia James announced an investigation into Apple Inc’s failure to warn consumers about a FaceTime bug that had let iPhones users listen to conversations of others who have not yet accepted a video call.

Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over privacy issues, including a U.S. Federal Trade Commission investigation into disclosures that Facebook inappropriately shared information belonging to 87 million users with British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

facebook, iphone, new york
Facebook is facing a slew of lawsuits and regulatory inquiries over privacy issues. Pixabay

New York’s financial services department does not traditionally supervise social media companies directly, but has waded into digital privacy in the financial sector and could have oversight of some app providers that send user data to Facebook.

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In March, it is slated to implement the country’s first cybersecurity rules governing state-regulated financial institutions such as banks, insurers and credit monitors.

Last month, DFS said life insurers could use social media posts in underwriting policies, so long as they did not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sexual orientation or other protected classes. (VOA)