UN chief expresses concern over deaths of Indian journalists

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United Nations— UN chief Antonio Guterres has expressed concern over the deaths of two journalists in India and the violence against mediapersons across the globe.

“We, of course, are concerned about anything that would suggest the harassment or violence against journalists, anywhere in the world and and would do so in this case,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’s deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters at the daily press briefing here yesterday.

Haq was responding to a question on the UN’s response to the recent deaths of two Indian journalists in the line of duty.

Sandeep Sharma, 35, a reporter for a local television channel in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind district died after he was mowed down by a truck. Sharma had complained about threats to his life after he carried out a sting operation on illegal sand mining.

In Bihar, Naveen Nishchal, a journalist who worked for a Hindi daily, was among two persons killed when an SUV rammed into their bike in Bhojpur district, with the family alleging that it was a case of murder and that a former village head was behind it.

Advocacy group The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the killings, and called on the Indian authorities to determine the motive and bring to justice those responsible for Sharma’s death.

Sharma’s colleague Vikas Purohit, who witnessed the collision, told the CPJ that he took Sharma to the local hospital where the journalist was declared dead from injuries sustained in the crash.

Purohit said both he and Sharma began receiving anonymous death threats last year after publishing two stories in July and October 2017 on alleged police corruption and illegal sand mining.

“Authorities must thoroughly investigate the killing of journalist Sandeep Sharma and determine if he was targeted because of his reporting,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler from Washington D.C.

“This tragic incident may well be a failure of local authorities to provide adequate security to a reporter who had received death threats,” he said. (PTI)

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