We, the members of the Foundation for Media Professionals and individual journalists independently endorsing this statement, are deeply concerned and outraged at instances of several journalists who have been made targets of a hate campaign, specifically for reporting on the ongoing process of updating the Indian National Register for Citizens in the state of Assam.
There are reporters across the country who have reported on the process of the updating of the NRC ever since it began following a direction from the Supreme Court of India.
Over time, journalists have continued to be persecuted on social media for their coverage of the NRC updates process, especially those who have reported stories against the popular narrative.
Recently, messages have been forwarded on social media including two dossiers. One contains names of several journalists and their descriptions, much of which may be defamatory and aimed to malign their reputation. This includes journalists who are residents of Assam, those posted in Assam on assignment and those who have traveled to Assam for their reportage. The second dossier contains the reportage of the NRC updation process which has been critical of it.
Both the dossiers bear the logo and the name of the office of the NRC. We appreciate the efforts of the office of the State Coordinator of NRC, Assam in swiftly denying that they had either created or circulated such a document.
However, the creation and circulation of such documents targeting individual journalists raises concerns that merit action beyond an empty denial. We are certain that despite the campaign of hate started against the journalists, they, and others, will continue their work.
Nevertheless, it is necessary to mention that such documents are meant to create an atmosphere of fear and hate and generate negative sentiments against journalists who continue to report objectively regardless of the official line.
We call upon you to not only condemn the creation and circulation of such a document, but also to take action, as per the law, in order to protect the freedom of the press, granted under the Constitution of India. Your support and action will go a long way to ensure that journalism as an institution remains free, fair and objective.
The following members and functionaries of
Fountain for Media Professionals
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta–President
Raksha Kumar–Karnataka Convenor
Ushinor Majumdar–Online Convenor
Aniruddha Bahal–Founder member
Journalists (individually and independent of FMP) endorsing this statement:
Note to all: This document will be maintained as a a live one and endorsements will be added. The statement, along with the materials being circulated against the journalists, and a link to the endorsements will be sent to the following:
The Chief Justice of India
The union Home Minister
The Chief Minister of Assam
The Supreme Court of India
Assam State Coordinator, NRC