January 26, 2018
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has condemned an attack on a journalist in Athaibari, West Khasi Hills District of Meghalaya, northeast India on January 23. The IFJ demanded of the Indian authorities to arrest the attackers and punish them.
Freelance journalist Biplab Dey, who regularly contributes to The Assam Tribune and the Meghalaya Guardian, was assaulted by a group suspected to be members of the All Rabha Student’s Union on January 23 night when he went to document the evidence of illegal transportation of timber to Assam. The attackers snatched away Dey’s camera and mobile phone to destroy evidence.
This is not the first time that Biplab Dey has been attacked for doing his duty. On November 26, 2016, Dey was assaulted when he was documenting photographic evidence of an illegal check gate being constructed near Damra in Goalpara, Assam.
The Meghalaya Electronic Media Association (MEMA) and the Shillong Press Club have strongly condemned this criminal intimidation of journalists and said it amounted to an attack on the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression. The bodies have urged the state police to take immediate action against the culprits to encourage the media to do its duty diligently and fearlessly.
The IFJ said: “The IFJ condemns the attack on journalist Biplab Dey in Meghalaya, northeast India while he was reporting illegal acts by the timber smugglers. The attack is against the principle of press freedom and violates Dey’s rights as a journalist, and also weakens independent journalism. The IFJ urges the concerned Indian authority to immediately take action to arrest and punish the attackers.” – IFJ media release
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