New Delhi, India: The brutal attack on senior journalist Mr Nikhil Wagle by members of a political party in Pune on February 9 has sparked outrage and condemnation from several prominent journalist organizations. This incident is part of a concerning trend in India, where attacks on journalists have become alarmingly common, reflecting a worrying trend of intolerance towards the media’s role in upholding democratic values and freedom of expression.
In a joint statement, the President of the Press Club of India, Gautam Lahiri, along with representatives from the Indian Women’s Press Corps and the Press Association, emphasized the urgent need for accountability and justice in this matter. They expressed shock and outrage over the incident and stressed the importance of fostering an environment where differing opinions, especially in politics, are respected and subject to constructive dialogue rather than violent reprisal.
The attack on Journalist Nikhil Wagle and two others took place after a FIR was filed against Wagle for his remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leader LK Advani after the Central government awarded the latter Bharat Ratna. This escalation of violence against journalists is deeply concerning and detrimental to the fabric of democracy.
The journalist organizations have called for the withdrawal of severe charges brought against Mr. Wagle under criminal laws, including accusations of promoting enmity, mischief, and defamation. They are urging the Maharashtra government to take decisive action against the perpetrators of the attack and send a strong message that violence against journalists will not be tolerated and that those responsible will be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
It is crucial for the authorities to address this issue and ensure that impunity for such acts of violence does not embolden further assaults on press freedom. The freedom of the press and the safety of journalists are essential for the functioning of a democratic society, and it is imperative to uphold these values.