CJFE condemns the recent murder of television journalist Hemant Kumar Yadav in Chandauli district in Uttar Pradesh state, northern India. Yadav was shot and killed after he was confronted by two motorcyclists while travelling home from market on October 3, 2015. He was shot twice in the chest and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital. No arrests have been made in the murder.
Yadav is the third journalist murdered in Uttar Pradesh, and the sixth in India, this year so far. In August, police discovered two people dragging the body of journalist Sanjay Pathak, 42, in Faidpur, Uttar Pradesh. Jagendra Singh, who reported on politics and current affairs, died from extensive burn injuries after he was allegedly set on fire by a police officer on June 1, 2015 in the state’s Shahjahanpur district.
The decision by India’s Supreme Court this year to repeal an unconstitutional law that criminalized offensive online speech is a positive step in support of free speech, but journalists remain under threat and without adequate protections for conducting their work safely. Although India rose in the World Press Freedom Index rankings in 2015, from 140th to 136th out of 180 countries, it remains one of the most restrictive countries for the press. Continued violence, threats and intimidation against journalists are cause for great concern. Furthermore, a three-day Internet blackout in Jammu and Kashmir imposed by the Indian government and a five-day ban of Al-Jazeera’s broadcast in April indicate continuing, systemic problems regarding freedom of information in the country.
CJFE strongly urges officials in India to thoroughly investigate Yadav’s murder and bring the perpetrators to justice. Further, CJFE implores India to take action in other unsolved journalist murders to help end impunity and violence against journalists.
CC: Mr. Nadir Patel, Canadian High Commissioner to India
The Honourable Robert Nicholson, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs