Press Freedom: Police Case Filed Against Karnataka Journalist

Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO
Stop killing journalists. Photo: UNESCO

A police case has been filed against a journalist in the Indian state of Karnataka for writing an article about Chief Minister (CM) HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy.

The Karnataka government headed by Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) alliance is behind the complaint filed against Vishweshwar Bhat, the editor-in-chief of the local Vishwavani Daily.

Reports suggest that Bhat’s article published Saturday had discussed the alleged heated arguments that took place Friday between Nikhil Kumaraswamy and his grandfather, former prime minister HD Deve Gowda.

According to the article Nikhil Kumaraswamy – who was defeated in the recent Lok Sabha election – was accusing his grandfather for not helping him win.

The First Information Report (FIR or police complaint) filed Sunday by a politician of Janata Dal (Secular) has leveled serious charges including defamation, forgery, and cheating against Bhat.

The complaint alleges that the article has tarnished the image of Nikhil Kumaraswamy and was aimed to extort money from him.

While press freedom is under constant attack from the Indian authorities, the global media watchdog Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) has for the first time issued an Incident Report, on freedom of the press in India.

In view of the increase in breaches of press freedom, the Incident Report examines the country’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index, the global benchmark for media freedom.

In the 2018 Index, India occupied the 138th position out of 180 countries, two places lower than in 2017, and the situation has continued to deteriorate.

As a result, the Abuses and Environment indicators, which contribute to the country’s evaluation for the Index, show a negative trend and point to another decline in its ranking in the 2019 edition unless the authorities take steps to rectify the situation.

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Rakesh Raman