Date: 28 Dhul-Qadah 1443   Monday 27 June 2022

  • Last Update: Monday 27 June 2022، 08:45:49.

For Muslim journalists in India, threats, FIRs and even mob violence for reporting have become a new normal.
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World Press Freedom Day: The Dangers of Being a Muslim Journalist in India

06:23 04 May 2022 Author :  

A young 19-year-old Muslim friend from Karnataka who documents hate crimes against minorities in the state, is struggling to convince his parents to let him pursue a career in journalism. Paying no heed to his relentless persuasion, his parents feel that a career in journalism for him is too dangerous today.

While I admire my young friend's zeal and courage, there is substantial merit in his parents' worries. In the India of 2022, journalism is a really dangerous profession. Certainly, It is harder for journalists with a Muslim name writing on human rights and the growing episodic attacks on the Muslim community.

There is literally no rocket science in guessing how does it feel like being a Muslim reporter in India whose daily job is to trawl through daily footage of hate and violence against their community, who writes on hate offenders being ignored by the law and people languishing in Jail under draconian laws. So, it does not matter how much my friend tries to convince his parents, they remain unmoved.

Perhaps, his parents may be aware of journalist Siddique Kappan or Fahad Shah's brazenly unjust incarceration. Kappan, who was arrested on his way to cover the Hathras gangrape and murder case of a Dalit woman, has spent over 1.5 years in jail under the UAPA and a proper trial is yet to begin.

On the other hand, Fahad Shah had secured bail in two cases, but was slapped with the draconian Public Safety Act which can keep him in extrajudicial detention for a long time without a fair trial. This happened while Fahad was awaiting a hearing in the third case.

Threats, Violence and Online Auctions: The Toll They Take

Of late, threats, FIRs and even mob violence for reporting have become a new normal. Last month, a group of journalists, most of them Muslim, were attacked at a Mahapanchayat organised by Hindutva outfits right in the heart of the national capital for covering an event where open calls to violence against Muslims were made.

The mob reportedly grew hostile after the Muslim identity of the reporters was revealed. Later, a police case was filed against one of the victims as well.

At this point of time, sometimes a journalist cannot even afford a human error or a bad typo in their reports.

While physical attacks are scary, constant trolling, death threats and organised harassment campaigns have also become a new normal. Last year, Muslim women, many of them journalists, were put up on a mock 'auction' online at least twice by Hindutva supremacist alt-right groups to silence them.

All this is not happening in a vacuum and even if you somehow overcome all the attacks, the job of constantly trawling through unimaginable amounts of hate against your identity will always hurt.

On 13 April 2022, Times of India Journalist Akhlad Khan passed away. Akhlad was a friend too and a fellow reporter who meticulously covered hate crimes. Three days before his death, he had advised me to look after my mental health after I wrote a long rant against the cruel monotony of documenting violence against Muslims.

At 28, this was Akhlad's second heart attack. The prevalent hate around was choking him from the inside yet he kept warning others to beware of the impact of hate. Despite anxiety and health complications, It was something very personal to him. He did this work as a moral duty.

 

  • عنوان تمهيدي: For Muslim journalists in India, threats, FIRs and even mob violence for reporting have become a new normal.
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