India: Another reporter slain in Uttar Pradesh, second in a month

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is outraged by the second murder of a journalist in the space of a month in the state of Uttar Pradesh, in northern India, and calls on the state’s authorities to do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice, and to step up protection for media personnel.

Vikram Joshi, a reporter for the Hindi-language newspaper Jansagar Today, died in hospital today from injuries he received on 20 July when he was beaten and then shot in the head by a group of men in front of his daughters aged 5 and 11 near their home in the city of Ghaziabad.

Nine suspects have been arrested after being identified by means of CCTV camera footage, but not the man who shot Joshi, according to his family, which is refusing to recover his body until the killer is arrested. The family thinks Joshi was the victim of a reprisal for filing a complaint four days earlier against individuals who had harassed his niece.

“All those responsible for Vikram Joshi’s shocking murder must be identified and brought to justice as quickly as possible,” RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk said. “We take note of the fact that an investigation is under way and we urge the police not to neglect the possibility of a link to his work as a journalist. Above all, we call on the Uttar Pradesh authorities to adopt substantial measures to reinforce protection for journalists as a matter of the utmost urgency.”

The other journalist to be gunned down in the past few weeks in Uttar Pradesh was Shubham Mani Tripathi, a reporter for the Hindi-language Kampu Mail newspaper, who died on the spot when he was shot six times on 19 June in Lucknow, the state capital. He had said in a recent Facebook post that he feared he could be killed because of his investigations into illegal land expropriation by the local “sand mafia.”

India is ranked 142nd out of 180 countries and territories in RSF's 2020 World Press Freedom Index.