Outrage Over Gauri Lankesh Murder, Questions raised on Press Freedom
Last night Gauri Lankesh, senior journalist, and the anti-establishment voice was shot dead outside her Bengaluru home. Last year in November, the court convicted her on charges of defamation of two BJP leaders for two articles published in her periodical in 2008. Further, she was asked to pay Rs 10,000 as a penalty. However, she was later granted bail.
Lankesh’s murder has seen an outpouring of anger among the media and citizens who say that it is an attempt to silence democracy.
Media and activists speak out:
“Grace. Integrity. Courage. The work will continue,” her ex-husband and senior journalist Chidanand Rajghatta wrote on Facebook.
Journalist Harini Calamur tells SheThePeople.TV that “India is seeing a gradual break down of law and order that puts in dangers all our freedoms. Vigilante action has to be clamped down on.”
The Network Of Women In Media, India also issued a statement in solidarity with Lankesh:
“We want to declare to ourselves and to everyone that is watching with and without malice – we will not be prevented, silenced, outdone or shut down…At NWMI we also take this opportunity to say we continue to back, fight for and voice each others’ concerns legally, politically, journalistically. We urge everyone to not share insensitive pictures of Gauri’s body post her killing.”
“A candlelight vigil will be held at the Press Club in Mumbai on Wednesday evening,” its Secretary, Dharmendra Jore said.
Press freedom at an abysmal low:
According to the latest World Press Freedom ranking, released in April this year, India is a lowly 136 among 180 countries. We are three places above Pakistan and only one place above Palestine. According to a report in The Indian Express, five Indian journalists were murdered in 2016.
Protests all-over India:
People are outraged that such an incident has happened. They are coming out on the streets to protest against the injustice Lankesh suffered.
The BJP has demanded a CBI probe. “The probe conducted by the state is not reliable,” BJP leader Anant Kumar said in a press conference.
Also, the Chief Minister of Karnataka, where Congress is in power, says that the Karnataka government will form Special Investigation Team to probe the killing of the senior journalist. According to ANI, he said that he was not sure whether the murder was part of a conspiracy.
“We will find her killers. The police has set up roadblocks at various places. Checkpoints around Bengaluru are being monitored,” said the Karnataka chief minister.