Photo Courtesy: Facebook/Achyuta Nanda Sahu
FMP condemns the killing of a journalist in Chattisgarh conflict zone
Foundation for Media Professionals condemns the killing of Doordarshan cameraman Achyutananda Sahu in an alleged Maoist ambush in the run-up to elections in Chattisgarh.
In the violence that broke out on October 30 in Aranpur forests of Dantewada, gun-wielding members of the banned CPI (Maoist) were reportedly retaliating against a project to build a road in that remote area.
Two security men were also killed in the incident in which Sahu lost his life in the course of covering the upcoming elections.
While Maoists have a long record of attempting to disrupt elections through violence, Chhattisgarh has for over three decades witnessed battles between state forces and left extremists rendering the state particularly unsafe to journalists.
The 2016 report of the Editor's Guild of India noted that in Chattisgarh, it could not find "a single journalist who could claim with confidence that he/she was working without fear or pressure". The Committee to Protect Journalists reported the same year that Chattisgarh was one of the deadliest states for journalists to work in India.
Many journalists are known to have been detained without being arrested or arrested on false charges, harassed or physically threatened by security forces or organisations linked to them. On the other hand, Maoists have killed journalists who they suspect of being police informers. Sai Reddy, a reporter for Deshbandhu newspaper was killed by Maoists in 2013, although he had earlier faced police hostilities too.
Though a Doordarshan employee like Sahu was unlikely to have faced any danger from security forces, the Chattisgarh government should ensure that the state apparatus stops being part of the problem for other journalists reporting from the conflict zone.
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, President
Raksha Kumar, Convenor, Karnataka