New York, March 25, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the release on bail of Naveen Soorinje, a television reporter jailed for more than four months after documenting a large-scale assault on a group of young women in Karnataka state. CPJ considers the pending criminal charges to be baseless and retaliatory, and calls on authorities to drop them immediately.
Today marks International Women's Day. Hashtags like #IWD and #InternationalWomensDay have been trending on Twitter. Among the twitterati who voiced their support for women's rights was Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. He tweeted:
PM: Let me reiterate in this House the commitment of our govt. to ensuring the dignity, safety and security of every woman of this country.-- Dr Manmohan Singh (@PMOIndia) March 6, 2013
Confusion surrounds the case of imprisoned Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje, who was jailed for exposing an attack on young men and women last summer by extremists belonging to the Hindu Jagran Vedike, self-appointed moral police in coastal Karnataka. Soorinje's report helped lead to the arrest of dozens of attackers. But Karnataka state--ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)--has grouped him with the very attackers he exposed. Soorinje's continued imprisonment warrants a look at the larger picture in coastal Karnataka.
Indian journalist Naveen Soorinje continues to languish in prison despite last week's decision by the Karnataka state cabinet to withdraw charges against him. New developments this week are challenging his release. And his continued imprisonment raises a larger question about the role of journalists at the occurrence of a crime.
Although Naveen Soorinje is still in jail, there may be some good news. Today, 86 days after his arrest, the state cabinet in Karnataka decided to withdraw charges against him.
Even though members of the Karnataka state government have provided broad assurances that they will drop charges against Naveen Soorinje, the young journalist remains imprisoned two months after he was arrested for exposing an assault on women by Hindu extremists. Welcome to Incredible India, where a journalist can be locked up for documenting a crime against women even as millions express outrage over medieval mindsets following the fatal gang rape of a Delhi student in December.
New York, November 9, 2012--An Indian television journalist who documented a large-scale attack on young women and reported the episode to police in Karnataka state has been charged with participating in the assault, according to news reports. The Committee to Protect Journalists considers the arrest to be retaliatory and calls on authorities to drop the criminal charges and release the reporter immediately.
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