New Delhi: A collective of independent media and civil society groups has raised concerns over the recent attacks on journalists while reporting on the widespread protests and citizens’ movements that took place since the passing of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The report titled ‘Republic in Peril’ details accounts of 32 journalists who were attacked while they were reporting between December 2019 when the anti-CAA protests began and February when the Delhi riots took place.
The report divides the attacks into three phases – the first when the anti-CAA protests began in December, followed by the phase in January beginning with the attack on journalists around the JNU campus and the third phase, during the Delhi riots.
“The report observes these three phases in continuity. The first spate of attacks by the state and non-state actors was a testing ground that builds up into a full-fledged consolidated attack on Press during Delhi violence in the last week of February,” the report said.
It lists accounts of seven journalists in the first phase in which journalists from Zee News, BBC and Asianet News and others were attacked when they were covering the anti CAA protests.
Bushra Sheikh, a journalist with the BBC, was attacked by the police in South Delhi. “A male cop pulled her hair, hurled abuses and hit her with a baton,” the report said.
In the second phase which the report evaluates, there were cases of seven attacks on journalists. Most of them were attacked either inside or outside JNU when they were covering protests or the violence that broke out in the campus.
Ayush Tiwari of Newslaundry was confronted by a mob outside the JNU campus on January 5 and asked to chant ‘Bharat mata ki jai’.
In the third phase, during the Delhi riots, the report details 14 cases of attacks. All the attacks took place on February 24 and 25 when the violence in north east Delhi, in which at least 53 people lost their lives, was at its peak. A journalist, Akash Napa, who works with JKx24 was shot by a mob.
In a separate list of journalists attacked in places other than Delhi, the report details 15 cases including cases where security personnel attacked journalists clicking pictures in Srinagar.