Don’t harass journalists in Chhattisgarh: Rights body

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New York, April 18 (IANS) The Indian government should investigate allegations that journalists are being prosecuted for their reporting of the conflict in Chhattisgarh, Human Rights Watch said on Monday.

In March, the Editors Guild of India reported that the media in the state was “working under tremendous pressure” brought by the authorities, Maoist rebels and vigilante groups.

The authorities should drop baseless prosecutions of journalists and end abuses by the security forces against journalists, activists and human rights defenders in Maoist-affected areas, Human Rights Watch said.

“The authorities should address suffering of ordinary people and stop threatening and prosecuting journalists for bringing attention to rights abuses,” it said.

“Silencing journalists and rights activists makes it easier for both the Maoists and government security forces to commit abuses with impunity.”

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Four journalists facing criminal charges in Chhattisgarh appear to have been arrested because of their criticism of the government, Human Rights Watch said.

These include Deepak Jaiswal, a reporter for the Dainik Dainandini newspaper, Prabhat Singh, a reporter for the Hindi daily Patrika, Santosh Yadav, a contributor to Hindi newspapers, and Somaru Nag, a journalist from a tribal community.

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