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India

Blog   |   India

'It's worse this time,' says photographer shot by police during latest Kashmir unrest

Indian security forces face protesters during unrest in Srinagar in September. Journalists are being caught in the crossfire during the recent unrest. (AP/Dar Yasin)

For four months, the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has been under a curfew imposed after protests broke out when Burhan Wani, a commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, a pro-independence militant organization that advocates for Kashmir's independence from India, was killed in clashes with the Indian army. Journalists have been caught in the crossfire as protesters clash with police and authorities try to regain control by imposing curfews and blocking access to the internet.

Blog   |   India

In India, online campaign seeks to free press from risk of criminal defamation

India's Parliament in New Delhi. A private members' bill to decriminalize defamation will be heard during its winter session. (AFP/Money Sharma)

An online campaign to decriminalize defamation in India is being led by a member of the country's main opposition party. "Criminal defamation can lead to people being put in jail for something they have said publicly. This law needs to be replaced by a modern, progressive law," reads the statement on the campaign website.

Blog   |   India

Court reporters beaten by lawyers in latest attack on press freedom in India

Lawyers scuffle outside a Delhi court on Wednesday. Several journalists say they were beaten by lawyers at the court in the past week. (AP/Tsering Topgyal)

Attacks this week against journalists covering a high-profile sedition case have heightened concerns about the state of press freedom in India. CPJ has reported frequently on journalists there coming under attack from police, criminals, politicians, and others. Now lawyers have to be added to the list.

Blog   |   India

'I kept telling them I'm a journalist but they kept beating me': Photographer beaten at Delhi protest

Rahul says he heard police give the order to charge before rushing at students at the Delhi protest. (Rahul M.)

As police cracked down on protesters in Delhi during recent protests over the treatment of Dalits, who occupy the lowest rungs of India's caste ladder, journalists were caught in the fray. The protests were sparked by the suicide of Rohith Vemula, a student who had been barred from halls of residence and parts of campus, according to news reports.

Blog   |   India

In India, politics of beef and rising intolerance threaten press freedom

A protest in Delhi over the murder of a Muslim farmer killed over claims he slaughtered a cow. Violence over the tightening of beef laws in parts of India is having an impact on some journalists. (AP/Altaf Qadri)

The violence over the tightening of laws banning the consumption of beef in parts of India and debate over the reach of a right-wing Hindu agenda are having an impact on press freedom. An editor who wrote about the benefits of beef was fired last week, journalists have received death threats from extremist groups, and writers have handed back awards in protest of what they see as the government's failure to address a rising tide of intolerance.

Blog   |   India

Indian journalist named on hit list as threats against critical voices escalate

A vigil for rationalist scholar M.M. Kalburgi, who was shot dead earlier this year. Threats against writers and journalists from the rationalist school of thought are rising in India. (AP/Aijaz Rahi)

"These people will kill you," Nikhil Wagle, a prominent journalist in India, told me as we discussed reports of him being named as a target by a member of a hard-line Hindu group who is being questioned by police over the murder of a writer.

Blog   |   India, Security

Amid claims of police beatings during Gujarat clashes, India should step up press protection

A policeman uses a baton to disperse protesters in Gujarat on August 25. Journalists were among those injured as police broke up the crowds. (AP/Ajit Solanki)

Images of police forcibly suppressing protesters, such as the one above, are seen in many places around the world. Too frequently, journalists trying to cover these events find themselves caught in the crosshairs, with news crews beaten by police batons, exposed to teargas or hit by water cannon. From race riots in Ferguson in the U.S. to clashes in India, journalists covering unrest risk finding themselves injured in the violence.

Blog   |   India

Five-day ban for Al-Jazeera in India, one year after map error

Viewers wanting to watch Al-Jazeera in India this week are greeted with a message, above, explaining the news outlet has been banned for five days. (AFP/Chandan Khanna)

On Wednesday, Al-Jazeera was forced off the air in India after the government demanded the Qatar-based news broadcaster be suspended for five days for broadcasting images of maps between 2013 and 2014 that did not display Pakistan-controlled Kashmir as separate territory.

Blog   |   India

Mission Journal: Challenges for India's press increase as Modi marks first year in office

Indian papers announce the election victory of Narendra Modi in May 2014. Journalists say reporting on government issues has become challenging in the past year. (AFP/Prakash Singh)

"Modi has tightened the screws on information." This statement from Bangalore-based journalist Subir Ghosh underscores a common challenge repeated to me by several of India's journalists, who say the space for criticism is shrinking under Narendra Modi's rule. Since a landslide victory made him leader of the world's largest democracy nearly one year ago, the prime minister has worked to distance his government from independent reporters, they said.

Blog   |   India, Internet

India's landmark online speech ruling is step toward greater press freedom

Aseem Trivedi speaks to the media after his arrest in 2012. Charges against the cartoonist have been dropped after India overturned part of its Information Technology Act. (Reuters/Danish Siddiqui)

In an historic decision, India's Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down part of a law used to silence criticism and free expression. While this marks a pivotal victory that has been welcomed in many quarters, many challenges remain for press freedom in the country.

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