Journalists in the line of fire: How safe are they in India?

This piece originally appeared on


When he was shot dead on 13 May in Bihar, Rajdeo Ranjan, bureau chief of Hindi daily Hindustan in Siwan, possibly became the fourth Indian journalist to be murdered in 2016 for work-related reasons.

Ranjan, who worked for Hindustan for 20 years, was shot dead by assailants on a motorcycle while he was returning home from work.

A day earlier, a Hindi television journalist was shot dead in Jharkhand.

Since 1992, according to a global database, 25 Indian journalists have been murdered for work-related reasons, and the cause of death of another 23 is suspected to be similar. Further, the numbers show a rising trend, with print journalists covering corruption and politics being targeted by political and criminal groups.

How many: India is among the 10 worst in murder count.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), a New York-based non-profit that promotes press freedom worldwide, investigates the death of every journalist to determine whether it is work-related. It classifies these deaths into two broad categories: “motive confirmed” and “motive unconfirmed”.

It classifies a case as “motive confirmed” only “if we are reasonably certain that a journalist was murdered in direct reprisal for his or her work”. This could be crossfire/combat, a dangerous assignment (while covering a riot) or murder (“the targeted killing of a journalist, whether premeditated or spontaneous, in direct relation to the journalist’s work”).

It classifies a case as “motive unconfirmed” when the motive is unclear, but it is possible that a journalist was killed because of his or her work, and continues to investigate.

In all, CPJ registered 1,189 journalist deaths under the “motive confirmed” category since 1992, of which, 786 were murders. Data for India since 1992 shows a rising trend of murders, with the last block of five years being the worst since 1999-2004. Among countries, India ranks number 10 in absolute number of murders (without adjusting for population) and sixth in terms of the count of the “motive unconfirmed” set.




Who: Print journalists covering corruption and politics, felled by political and criminal groups.

CPJ further breaks down the data by the work profile of the murdered journalists. An analysis of the CPJ information for the 25 Indian journalists shows they were mostly from print publications—reporters and editors.

Further, they were assigned to cover corruption, politics and crime, and they were killed by political and criminal groups.



What: India lags in solving cases of journalist murders and nurturing freedoms of the press.

The CPJ Impunity Index casts a light on the countries where the killers of journalists have gone unpunished. In the 2015 index, which looks at data between September 2005 and August 2015, the top three countries in this list are involved in an armed conflict. India features in the index for the eighth consecutive year, at number 14.

Another annual survey by Reporters Without Borders measures the degree of freedom available to journalists in their respective countries, combining quantitative data on abuses and qualitative responses. In 2015, it ranked India a lowly 133rd out of 180 countries and classified it as “bad” in press freedom.




Data sources: Reporters Without Borders (World Press Freedom Index data), Committee to Protect Journalists (all other data). is a search engine for public data.


Read More

News in Numbers – September 10, 2015

News In Numbers: September 10, 2015


Rs 50 lakh

The amount the National Stock Exchange (NSE) has been fined by the Mumbai High Court in a defamation case it had filed against financial news website Moneylife. The bourse filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Moneylife following an article written by Sucheta Dalal alleging that NSE staffers were leaking sensitive information related to high-frequency trading, which helped a select set of investors to trade faster than their competitors. Despite repeated requests by Moneylife, NSE did not participate in the story. According to Hoot, a media watch website, there were 21 instances of defamation cases and legal notices being filed by politicians, business houses, lawyers, former judges and media houses to book publishers, advertisers, other media houses and journalists in 2014.


Share of revenue Infosys expects to earn by way of acquisitions of the total 2020 target revenue of $20 billion. The Bengaluru-based IT firm is working towards a 30% operating margin and $80,000 revenue per employee in another five years. In 2014-15, Infosys earned $8.7 billion in revenue. Quoting the way Accenture and Cognizant have acquired other companies, Vishal Sikka, managing director and chief executive of Infosys, said they need to do something similar without copying them. The company has made two acquisitions this year. Since the beginning of 2015, Accenture has acquired nine companies.


1.9 percentage points

The amount by which global corporate profits as a share of global GDP will fall by 2025, according to a new study by McKinsey, the consulting firm. According to McKinsey, the share of corporate profits as a share of world GDP was 9.8% in 2013. By 2025, this will fall to 7.9% due to a range of factors. Increased competition as firms in emerging markets continue to expand beyond their borders is one major reason.  Another reason, McKinsey says, is the fall in labour costs and interest rates observed over the last few decades is unlikely to continue.


According to a survey conducted by the Indian government, over a fifth of the toilets it has constructed are non-functional and effectively beyond use. The government has built 6 crore toilets. Chaudhary Birendra Singh, Union Rural development minister, said a change in mindset was needed to make people use toilets. The government is aiming to do away with open defecation under the Swachh Bharat mission by 2019. Over half a billion people in India – or 59% of the 1.1 billion people in the world — still defecate in the open, according to the World Health Organization.


The number of Indian railway stations Japan will help India redevelop by sending an official mission to “study the opportunities for industries”. Besides this, Japan has agreed to participate in Indian railways’ investment plan of $140 billion in the next five years and engage in technology cooperation for modernising and upgrading Indian railways. Japanese railways and companies would also assist India in its zero-accident mission. Indian railways posted a loss of Rs 30,000 crore in the passenger segment in 2014. Japan has announced a funding of $35 billion across various infrastructure projects over the next five years. is a search engine for public data

Read More