Reporters Without Borders wrote today to the Indian home affairs minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, requesting information about the status of the investigation into the death of the Global News Network journalist Pawan Kumar in the north-western city of Hardoi on 13 August.
“We should like to know if the investigation by your department has led to an arrest,” the letter said.
“Have your inquiries determined the exact circumstances of the tragedy and established whether Pawan Kumar was killed because his work had angered the drug traffickers?
“If this was the case, it would impinge on freedom of information in India. We urge the Indian authorities to treat the matter with the utmost seriousness and to do all they can to get to the bottom of it, thus reassuring journalists that such crimes will not go unpunished.”
Kumar, accompanied by his cameraman Uttam Singh, was working on a report on the drug mafia. He was following a car occupied by drug dealers he believed were about to make a delivery. The driver noticed Kumar was following them, got out of the car and shot him after an altercation.
The Indian police said later they had identified the driver and launched an investigation.
Reporters Without Borders points out that two journalists had previously been killed in India this year — Chandrika Rai, who worked for the Hindi daily Navbharat and the English-language newspaper The Hitavada, on 18 February, and Rajesh Mishra of the Hindi-language weekly Media Raj, on 2 March.
Photo: MANPREET ROMANA / AFP