Ensure safe environment for journalists, Editors Guild tells Assam govt.

They have been subjected to mob attacks, intimidation and threats, it says

The Editors Guild of India (EGI) has requested the Assam government to ensure a safe environment for journalists to work in.

In a letter to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday, the EGI expressed “deep concern about the growing incidence of violence against journalists” in Assam being “subjected to mob attacks, intimidation, and threats”.

The EGI cited the assault on Milan Mahanta, 42, a print reporter and the death of TV reporter Parag Bhuyan, 47, in an accident. Both incidents were reported this month.

While Mr. Mahanta claimed he was tied to a pole and beaten up for his reportage against gambling and land mafias in Kamrup district, the death of Bhuyan is being investigated as a possible murder for exposing illegal activities in eastern Assam’s Kakopathar.

“While we appreciate your firm condemnation of these incidents, the situation demands your urgent intervention to assure the media that they are safe to report without fearing retribution from the criminal mafia. In the absence of that, a sense of impunity could embolden attackers who may believe that they are above the law,” the EGI said.

The EGI also appreciated the Assam government’s efforts in providing fiscal relief to the kin of 32 journalists killed in Assam since 1991.

“However, most of the cases have not been resolved with allegations of shoddy investigations. In many cases culprits roam free, intimidating the families of the slain journalists. We hope you will urge the State police to take necessary steps for rebuilding confidence in the media,” the EGI said.

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